Outreach | Making Performing Arts Accessible to all
Since 2016, we have provided theatre arts outreach classes to children in Globe-Miami public schools. Due to funding cuts and testing pressures, many local schools were no longer able to offer an array of art classes and activities to their students, impacting kindergarten to twelfth grade. This was concerning to our team as exposure to the arts is shown to decrease a community’s dropout rates and increase student GPAs, which directly correlates to their social health and employment (www.americansforthearts.org). It was clear that it was time to invest more time and energy into as many children as possible in the local schools.
We piloted our own mini-musical curriculum in 2017, giving kids in local elementary schools the experience of performing, teaching them acting, singing, movement, rhythm and character development. This not only provided them with a whole set of new skills but also built up their confidence, character and ability to connect with others as theatre requires teamwork. In 2018, we expanded our face time with the kids, reaching middle school and high school students in the Globe Unified School District. We further expanded to add cultural awareness and literacy to our curriculum through a dynamic project on folk tales from around the world.
Out of our strong belief in the power of creativity and connectedness, our Outreach Team continued to multiply our efforts and added two new schools to our schedule last year. In 2019-2020, despite the pandemic, we reached roughly 1800 students in the Globe-Miami area. And we were able to invite all of these students and more to our live production of Lion King Jr. which showcased the talent of their peers and spotlighted the newly renovated Performance Arts Building at High Desert Middle School. This was the first time that many of these students had ever experienced live theatre, and it was moving to see their imagination inspired by the production.
We earnestly await a time when we can return to the classroom for Arts Outreach. To accommodate the need for remote learning opportunities, we began the Monsoon Youth youtube channel, where we have been posting videos and tutorials on theatre-based activities as well as makerspace and other art ideas. It has been a fruitful endeavor, and we hope to continue to grow this avenue for learning.
We are thankful to the United Fund of Globe-Miami who believed in this program from the beginning and has been a generous and faithful sponsor since. We would not have been able to accomplish so much without their continued enthusiasm and liberal pockets. We are also thankful to Globe Unified School District and Miami Unified School District, who welcome our Outreach Team every year, providing space to play and learn.