Each year, Mountain Play creates a specialized curriculum for young students to explore acting and the world of theatre. The curriculum is based on the themes of that year's Mountain Play production. Approximately 1,600 children attend the Mountain Play every year, but less than 10% of them come from low-income communities. The students participating in the Arts Education Program not only enjoy the 10 week course in theatre but are also invited to the amphitheatre to enjoy the Mountain Play experience first-hand and free of charge. Students are able to watch the performance as well as meet and interview the actors.
West Side Story Arts Education:
This past year, in partnership with the Boys and Girls club of Marin and Petaluma, the Mountain Play brought their Arts Education Program (AEP) to students at Davidson Middle School in San Rafael. Using this year's production of WEST SIDE STORY and its challenging themes as a foundation, the AEP enabled students to explore the issues of racism, immigration, bullying, violence and intolerance through their own experiences in a safe and confidential space. This environment allowed the students' work to flow freely through their theatrical expression.
Through theatre games and activities, the students in the program were exposed to the imaginative and creative aspects of theatre. Their passion for theatre was ignited, they formed strong connections with each other, and they heard and processed the perspectives of their classmates. By discussing the play and viewing the film version of WEST SIDE STORY, the students were able to delve into the complex themes that the show presents. These group discussions and theatre activities allowed the students to share their own thoughts and led to meaningful moments of questioning society's current status-quo. Throughout the program there is an emphasis on fun, safe risk-taking, and the joy of theatre.