America's Oldest · Founded 1808

The Walnut Street Theatre's Education Department Celebrates a Record-Breaking Year!

July 18, 2006

For the past few years, the Walnut Street Theatre's Education Department has gained a reputation for educating and fostering a love of the performing arts in kids and adults alike. Through its varied programs, the Education Department has impacted over 95,000 students and teachers in the past year!

How has the Walnut managed to reach so many people? The answer lies in the Walnut's far-reaching programs which include The Walnut's Touring Outreach Company, Theatre School and Adopt-a-School programs, among others. With so many programs both inside and outside the Walnut, the number of kids involved has grown by leaps and bounds with each passing season.

One of the biggest ways the Walnut reaches students is through our Touring Outreach Company. The Company, which consists of numerous four person touring productions and workshops, travels across the Delaware Valley during the school year from October to May. The programs are presented through age appropriate, curriculum based pieces that are socially relevant, entertaining and exciting. The Touring Outreach Company is always on the move, most times performing more than one piece in more than one school on any given day! All told, the Touring Outreach Company has reached over 63,000 students and 1,400 teachers in more than 160 schools throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware in the past year alone.

Closer to home, The Theatre School at Walnut Street Theatre is one of the most popular and vital theatre training grounds in the Delaware Valley. Students of all ages and levels of experience come to the Walnut for many reasons, be it a passion for the arts, a yearning for a career on the stage, or to broaden horizons. Courses are offered through three different age and skill levels on evenings and weekends throughout the year, including fall, spring and summer sessions. These classes, taught by professional actors from the surrounding area, consistently reach over 1,000 students a year.

One of the most important parts of the Education Department's mission is our Adopt-a-School program. This program creates a three-year partnership with a Philadelphia Center City public school. The program nurtures a direct link between the Walnut Street Theatre and the surrounding community. During the three-year stay at the host school, students and faculty can take advantage of the Walnut's resources, including performances and workshops. The Adopt-a-School program is designed to meet the arts education needs of the host school by improving student's dramatic skills and guiding teachers through every aspect of theatre performance. The program also helps teachers in creating a theatre curriculum, as well as how to integrate performance techniques into other school subjects.

Over the past seven seasons the Education Department at the Walnut has been expanded and nurtured by Susan Nicodemus Quinn, Director of Education. Susan has brought a wealth of professional experience and love of education to the Walnut, and was recently honored with a Certificate of Excellence from the Philadelphia Edison Schools at their End of Year Gala on June 1, 2006. The Gala was held to honor parents, community partners, teachers and school staff who exhibit the "Edison Core Values" of wisdom, justice, courage, compassion, hope, respect, responsibility and integrity.

This is, of course, just a small sample of what makes the Walnut Street Theatre Education Department so special and so successful. Through the Walnut's Apprenticeship Program, WST Theatre For Kids, School Residencies and Community Programs, tens of thousands of folks are positively affected by the arts on a daily basis. For more information on the Walnut Street Theatre Education Department and its programs, please visit our website at or call 215-574-3550 for more information. The work done at the Walnut is never at an end, as the Education Department is already preparing for an exciting 2006-2007 season. With such enriching and entertaining education programs, the future of the arts is in good hands at the Walnut Street Theatre.