At Pioneer Theatre Company, we take arts education seriously. But it is also a lot of fun, especially when you can share the joys of theatre with the local youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake City.
Led by Associate Artistic and Outreach Director Eric Jackson, and joined by local guest artists, PTC provides monthly sessions of theatrical discovery and creative exploration to any club that is available. We also host students at our productions that directly correlate with some of our specific workshops. The goal: to bring the joy of theatrical art and design out into the community and to the future patrons of the arts.
When students are initially informed of PTC workshops, many are skeptical because they don’t consider themselves performers. The idea of being put in the spotlight can also scare a student away. This year however, each of the monthly sessions have been designed to be an introduction to a specific behind-the-scenes role that is part of the bigger collaborative picture necessary for a show to be produced.
For example, students were introduced to the imaginative world of set designing by being inspired by designers’ set models and then creating their own mini three-dimensional world on a set model that they got to take home. Another workshop invited the students to literally get their hands dirty as they channeled their inner costume designer to fabricate their own colorful and bold pattern on a t-shirt with fabric paint and block printing.
And this past holiday show, A Christmas Story – The Musical, was the perfect opportunity for the students to learn about period appropriate paper holiday craft props that were then used onstage as set dressing in the PTC production. The students really enjoyed seeing their own work onstage when they all came the show together as PTC’s guests.
Students attending future Boys and Girls Club workshops with PTC will get the chance to inspire and challenge our workshop staff of actors by crafting dramatic theatrical masks that the actors must then embody. We will be giving other students the opportunity to write their own mini narratives in a playwriting workshop. And Boys and Girls Club students who will be attending The Prom will have learned some of the show’s actual choreography so that they themselves can dance the night away after enjoying a night at Pioneer Theatre Company.
We thank the generous TRCC Funds for allowing us to proudly provide arts and education workshops, and to give production tickets to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake City. Since 2018, we have conducted over 50 workshops, presented to over 550 youth, and are looking forward to more opportunities to bring theatrical engagement opportunities to our community.