Walnut Street Theatre's Adopt-A-School program creates a special three-year partnership with a K-8 Philadelphia Center City public school. It creates long term, meaningful partnerships with individual schools to nurture the direct links between Walnut Street Theatre and its surrounding community. During our three-year stay at the host school, students and faculty members receive many unique opportunities to use Walnut Street Theatre's resources, including in-school performances and workshops. The Adopt-A-School program is individually designed to meet the Arts Education needs of the host school in creating theatre curriculum, improving students' dramatic skills and guiding teachers through every aspect of producing a theatre performance. We seek to support education reform by improving the school environment through enriching the school community.
We are in our fourth year working with Pan American Academy. Our partnership began after community members came to see In the Heights on our mainstage. We now see every student in the school for a 6 week theatre unit. All outreach shows travel to the school at no cost, and every student attends one of our Kid Series performances. Staff receives professional development and attends mainstage dress rehearsals.
Now in our 2nd year with Thomas Holme Elementary we now see every student in the school for a 6 week theatre unit. All outreach shows travel to the school at no cost, and every student attends one of our Kid Series performances. Staff receives professional development and attends mainstage dress rehearsals and Walnut staff supports the production of their annual musical featuring over 50 students!
Our newest adoption is the Southwark School in South Philadelphia. Part of Mayor Kenney's community school initiative we look forward to this new partnership!
Teachers report that WST "exceeded their expectations" and are "thrilled" and "grateful for the adoption." One teacher wrote, "The only two questions my kids consistently ask are: "is it pretzel day" or "is there drama club today?" At the final drama club performance a teacher commented, "In the ten years I have been here, I have never seen this many parents in our school!", and another teacher remarked, "I've never heard children sing at school before."
Alumni Schools of the Adopt-A-School program include: Samuel S. Fels High School, Girard Academic Music Program, General George A. McCall School, William M. Meredith School, Chester A. Arthur School, and Belmont Charter School. Mini-adoptions have occurred at G.W. Pepper Middle School and A.M.Y. at James Martin.
For more information about these programs, contact the Walnut Street Theatre Education Department at 215.574.3550 ext. 511 or email us.