Community Based Learning Programs with heART: This is our biggest, and longest running collaboration. In conjunction with Worcester State University, Worcester Public Schools, and some students from The College of the Holy Cross, we have developed programs in two courses (Theatre for Young Audiences and Creative Dramatics) that allow the college students to learn from and with students from the WPS transition program and vice versa. We hope to use these as a model to encourage the development in other courses–encouraging faculty to approach programming in creative ways that incorporate the arts and community collaborations. We have written about this in a book Creative Collaborations through Inclusive Theatre and Community Based Learning: Students in Transition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) or you can learn more at our website dedicated to this particular work, Arts in Transition.
Just Us Workshop: The Just Us workshop was designed to empower youth to raise their creative voices through performing arts to bring awareness to various issues of violence, including dating violence, sexual assault and bullying. Through service learning, peer facilitating and peer mentoring, participants are challenged to confront issues of violence that concern them and their peers. This process results in a collaborative presentation featuring music, theatre, poetry, rap and spoken word to inform and bring awareness to these critical issues.
Art from the Heart: Telling Our Stories This project, in collaboration with the Seven Hills Foundation and VSA is a pilot project funded by the DDS Social Capital Innovation Grants. We will demonstrate the potential for improving social engagement through creative personal story telling through theatre arts and new media. Seven Hills Family Support Centers in Worcester, Fitchburg and Sturbridge will collaborate with a Community Partner to create opportunities for substantive engagement between people with and without developmental disabilities. As heARTful Collaborative, we are serving as the teaching artists, guiding the project with the members of the support centers and the community partners.
Teacher Professional Development Workshops: We provide in-service teachers with creative techniques to use in the classroom, through modelling, mentoring, and discussion.
Empowerment Workshops: Inspired by Lisa A. Kramer’s (heARTful Director of Programming) book P.O.W.ER, this workshop encourages young people to explore their own unique powers in creative ways that incorporate drama, writing, and whatever other form of creative expression the participants want to use.
From Stage to Page: These workshops, adaptable to writers (and illustrators) of all ages, use techniques from creative drama and theatre to inspire writing, and perhaps confront blocks. They provide ways of looking at character, setting, and even plot from a new perspective. All sessions include time to write.