Kentucky Shakespeare's "We the People" in City Schools
By LAUREL WILSON The Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org/783-3240 | Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2012 12:22 pm
A touring theater group made stops in several city schools over the last few days to perform scenes from American history.
Living History: We the People education program, presented by members of the Kentucky Shakespeare troupe, included scenes from the American Revolution through the Civil War. The three-person show demonstrates how the country is shaped by its citizens and why it’s so important to participate in democracy.
The troupe visited Potter Gray Elementary School and Bowling Green Junior High School on Tuesday, as well as W.R. McNeill and Dishman-McGinnis elementary schools Wednesday.
Dishman-McGinnis Principal Michael Wix said the play offers students a new way to experience history.
“It’s just another way to present social studies to our kids,” Wix said. “It’s better than reading about it from a book.”
Social studies is one of the areas that Amy Creek teaches to third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Dishman-McGinnis. She saw some clips of “We the People” and helped bring the troupe to the school.
“We wanted to review the history contents while experiencing performing arts,” Creek said.
“By seeing it, it gives them a different perspective. Rather than just learning about it, they get to see some of it acted out or demonstrated.”
Jale Turner, 10, a fifth-grader at Dishman-McGinnis, said it was fun to see a show that used events from history that he’s learned about in school.
“It gives more detail,” he said.
Stefan Gearhart of Louisville, one of the members of the troupe, said with many schools losing arts programs, the play is a way to bring arts into schools as well as tie it to the curriculum.
“Theater is not just for entertainment – we can teach with it,” Gearhart said.
He said he’s a history nut, so it’s nice to be able to combine two of his favorite things: history and theater.
Gearhart enjoys doing the show because kids really respond to it and tell him the play helps history come alive for them, he said.
Obadiah Ewing-Roush of Louisville, also in the troupe, said the show uses primary source documents for many of the characters’ lines, which helps fulfill core education standards.
“It’s not just boring speeches, but real people,” he said.