READER THEATRE'S PROJECT
Every season, as part of its outreach to the student community, Inland Valley Repertory Theatre aims to produce one play that is a significant piece of classic American or English literature. "What if we asked the schools what they read before we determine the season?" In 2015 one of the IVRT company members took that question and ran with it. In what seemed like a series of extremely fortunate and well timed events, IVRT received funding from the Claremont Educational Foundation and the first IVRT Reader’s Theatre project was begun.
Jenny McGourty Riggs, English teacher at El Roble Intermediate school, stated: "The need at El Roble is to make literature come alive. Students struggle to connect with literature in today’s world." The Reader’s Theatre activity succeeds in supporting student learning and linkages to the broader community by engaging students as participants in the creation of the art of storytelling and drama with the guidance of the IVRT teaching artists.
And, it goes a step further by offering students a safe place in which to express themselves. The student response is very positive:
“I really learned a lot and I made connections with the teachers and students in the class. I felt very at home and accepted and understood.”
“It’s very welcoming, fun, non-judgmental, while still learning about how to take auditions and other things.”
The goal of IVRT’s Reader’s Theatre project is to enhance the language arts curriculum of the students in the 7th and 8th grades at El Roble Intermediate School, to develop the project to have a wide reach, and go into depth through curriculum connections.