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Arts Integration

Olney Theatre Center's Arts Integration Program grew organically from a partnership with a single area school in the 2012-13 school year. Since then, the program has grown rapidly, and in the 2016-17 school year we worked with 16 classes in 7 schools.

The collaborative playwriting program is designed to capitalize on theatre as a collaborative artform by providing students opportunities to expand their 21st century skills, often described as the four C's: Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Creativity. We target fifth-grade classrooms, but we have successfully modified the program for both older and younger students.

The program usually begins in the fall, when OTC's education team introduces key concepts of ensemble improvisation and theatre, while reinforcing other curricular content. Students also take a field trip to OTC to see theatre concepts in professional practice. As the program progresses, students actively collaborating in small groups to write and revise their original scripts.

In the final phase of the program, students learn basic staging concepts and refine their work during in-classroom rehearsals. Student groups collaborate not only in the writing of the play, but also in choosing/creating the costumes, props, and set pieces necessary for the productions. Finally, in May, students will travel to OTC to perform their original productions on our Historic Stage.

Through the processes of script development and rehearsal, children can learn generosity, flexible cognition, problem solving, memorization, and commitment. Participating in a theatrical endeavor also provides kids an opportunity to explore the world through a different person's point of view, which encourages empathy. Even if performing is not a child's "thing," there is much to be gained. Since the program is process-driven, all students, even those who aren't natural performers, reap the program's benefits.

For more information, contact Arts Integration Manager, Sara Qureshi, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 301.924.4485 ext. 157.

Click here for a PDF flyer.

 


 

Meet the Teaching Artists

   

Katie Jeanneret is a DC area actor and teaching artist. As an actor, she was most recently seen in Unstrung Harpist Productions' Lazarus, presented at the 2017 Capital Fringe Festival. As a teaching artist, she has worked locally with Olney Theatre Center, Encore Stage & Studio, NextStop Theatre Company, and Traveling Players Ensemble, and has also taught in various theater education programs in Connecticut, Missouri, and Montana. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis, and is a proud alumna of Olney Theatre Center's Apprentice Training Program.

       
   

Elgin Martin is D.C.-based Director, Playwright and Teaching Artist. His past teaching experience includes Olney Theatre Center's Summer Stock, The Theatre Arts Training Program at Children Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN, and The Theatre Lab School for the Dramatic Arts in Washington D.C. A proud member of the Kenyon College Class of 2017, Elgin has also trained at The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN and The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City, NY.

       
   

Sonie Matthew began working with children in 1996 as a camp counselor. He holds a degree in Early Childhood Education/Elementary Education with a minor in theatre. For Montgomery County Public Schools, he was a Special Education co-op teacher and later led his school’s Asperger’s Program. While employed by MCPS, Sonie helped bring an after school drama program brought back to his school. During the summers, he was the Department Head of Theatre at an all boys camp. Sonie also served as the Social Media and Marketing Associate for Olney Theatre Center. While in that role, he was recruited as a teaching artist for the OTC education department; he has helped create and teach lessons for the Collaborative Playwriting Program since its inception. Sonie also teaches theatre around Montogmery County for several arts organizations.

       
   

Cynthia Webb-Manly holds an MA in Theatre Production from Central Washington University and a BA in speech communications from George Washington University. A proud member of SAGAFTRA and AEA, she has worked as a full time drama teacher, part-time make-up artist, director, stage manager, and costume designer and as a full time actor. Cynthia has been working as a teaching artist for four years and as a fitness instructor for twelve years. Cynthia is a Navy veteran and has a background in law and as a recruiter for a graduate program for students wanting to become teachers.

       
   

Christopher Wolfe is a teaching artist/director poet/playwright working in the greater D.C. area. He holds an MFA from Temple University. Chris has been an instructor and professor at several colleges and universities, including Georgetown University, American University, and the University of Maryland. In addition, he has been a workshop instructor for major regional theatres, including the Shakespeare Theatre, D.C. and Olney Theatre Center and Round House Theatre in Maryland. Chris has Multiple Sclerosis, which was diagnosed 12 years ago.

       
   

Moira Todd is an actor and educator from Mt. Hood, Oregon. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Southern Oregon University. She has taught at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, and around the country with Olney Theatre Center's National Players.

       
   

Stephanie Ichniowski is a local actor, teaching artist, and recent graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and received her BFA in Drama with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She is also a teaching artist through Compass Rose Theater in Annapolis. During her senior year of college, she performed in an Outreach Touring production of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona through the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, where she and the cast presented the show to various New York City Public schools, community centers, and Rikers Island. Through this experience, she found a passion for teaching and helping others discover a love for theatre.