In-School Residencies

“I think this program was the highlight of the school year for many of our children. I hope we get a chance to be a part of this fantastic program again next year.”

-Laura Ward Elementary, teacher

92% of school partners are yearly partners | Over 70% of students REPORT that a CCT Residency had a positive effect on their community | CCT works with over 1,000 students in Pre-K through 12th grade annually

Chicago Children’s Theatre is a national leader in theatre education programming, offering educators the tools they need to address some of the most pressing issues young people face today. Our Residencies provide meaningful education opportunities that, through teaching theatre, uniquely inspire community, teach problem-solving and collaboration, develop open minds and confident voices, and ignite a powerful authorship of ideas.

We are for all learners. Theatre education is effective across learning styles and can strongly benefit students with emotional needs, attention needs, learning disabilities, or language needs. In 2021/2022, we are thrilled to introduce three unique residency models to celebrate and support our return to in-person programming.

ROAR Residency

Session 8 weeks | Recommended for Kindergarten and 1st Grade

ROAR (Residencies of Arts and Resilience) will provide an opportunity for students to authentically reflect on challenging or stressful situations, gaining the tools for sharing with others, self care and self agency in those moments. The curriculum (developed in partnership with the Lurie Children’s Center for Childhood Resilience) uses children’s literature, theatre and other multi-disciplinary art forms as the source material for trauma-informed activities and conversations that promote coping mechanisms, social-emotional expression, and resilience. Through this program, we hope to support children as they return to school after a year of COVID-19. Theatre, Literacy Arts, and Arts Education serve as an effective component of mental health and academic support for students experiencing trauma. Our goal is for 100% of our students think “I am a brave person.”

“I just wanted to let you know how much the students and teachers love the program. A fellow teacher told me yesterday that one of the students that never speaks in her class participated and shared for the first time with your teachers. This also happened in my class with a student – she has never spoken out loud before. She speaks little English and is self-conscious, but this program has helped her overcome it. I just wanted to say thank you for all of the great work that you are doing.” – Alison, Hamline Elementary

ACTivate Residency

Session 10-12 weeks | Recommended for 2nd through 8th grade

ACTivate Residencies reinforce classroom learning through the creation of an original performance inspired by neighborhood interviews, myths, legends, or folktales that reflect the background and interests of school communities. CCT’s highly trained teaching artists work closely with students and teachers on a custom curriculum integrating writing, directing, performance, design, and collaborative story development with cross-disciplinary applications. Students pull from their own experiences to re-imagine existing stories and embody powerful narratives. We tailor this approach for each partnering school, classroom, teacher, and community. Residencies challenge students to think (learn), feel (empathize), and activate (do) with an emphasis on empowerment and leadership.

ACTivate Residencies reinforce your classroom’s existing curriculum with theatre-based instruction. We believe in the power of S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) and seek to inspire curiosity in these respective fields through art.

Red Kite Residency

For Young People on the Autism Spectrum and Other Neurodiverse Learners

Red Kite Drama Time is an adaptive theater program for young people on the autism spectrum and other neurodiverse learners. The primary pillar of our curriculum is social-emotional learning (SEL), utilizing sensory drama games to engage each student’s ability to work within a group and explore their emotional expressivity and understanding. Our classes engage in creative play and sensory experiences to encourage students to connect with their unique body, voice, imagination, and with the community around them. The main goals of this program include: imaginative play, improved communication, facial emotion recognition, turn-taking and eye contact. This program is inclusive for children without language and limited mobility.

“This clearly was a beautiful experience, one that more children, autistic or not, should have.”
– H. Schubert, Professor and University Scholar, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Chicago

More information About Our In-School Residencies

CCT Residency Information Packet (2021-22)

Each year, Chicago Children’s Theatre provides a limited number of schools with tuition free residencies. If you would like to apply for the tuition free residencies or if you would like to learn more about our Residency Program, please fill out our inquiry form and the Education Department will be in touch shortly.

Education Residency Inquiry Form

ACTivate After-School Residency Program

Our After-School Residency Program will bring our acting class series to you. During these classes, students will devise and perform an original work using improvisations and creative play. Young performers learn to create unique characters and collaborate and create as an ensemble. Through creative storytelling, students will learn narrative-building skills they need to engage with audiences on the stage and beyond. The class will culminate in the opening (and closing) performance of student generated world premiere!

Chicago Children’s Theatre also offers onsite programming for Pre-K Educators and all-ages Camp Organizations.

Why Theatre Education?

Children exposed to theatre education show a heightened ability to imagine the lives of others, fostering a deeper sense of compassion and tolerance.

Children demonstrate a range of intrinsic impacts after participating in theatre, including personal relevance, social bridging, aesthetic growth, and motivation to action.

Children with performing arts experience show improved engagement and behavior in social environments.

Live theatre programming increases student success on standardized tests, improves writing skills, and leads to stronger command of narrative ideas.

Theatre enhances the ability of students to imagine attending a college and envision success.

From: “Envisioning the Future of Theater for Young Audiences,” a landmark study compiled by the NEA in partnership with TYA/USA and TCG detailing the academic, social, and emotional benefits of theatre for children.

Common Core Standards

COMMON CORE READING: LITERATURE STANDARDS ADDRESSED

LITERACY: As students encounter stories and characters, they explore, dissect and expand narratives imaginatively. Our programming reinforces literacy skills such as narrative analysis, plot structure, character development, dialogue, symbolism and engagement with diverse genres such as folktales, myths, fables, fairy tales, poetry, plays.

COMMON CORE SPEAKING & LISTENING STANDARDS ADDRESSED

COMMUNICATION: As students work in peer groups to refine their opinions, approaches, and styles of storytelling, they develop civic communication skills. Our programming encourages students to communicate their perspectives and listen to others while working together to convey an idea to an audience. While honing their performance skills, students also develop their public speaking ability and confidence.

Illinois Learning Standards

COMMON CORE WRITING STANDARDS ADDRESSED

WRITING: As students adapt existing narratives into original theater pieces, they strengthen writing skills such as sequencing, narrative retelling and summarizing, editing, and revising.

ILLINOIS SOCIAL EMOTIONAL STANDARDS ADDRESSED

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL: As students explore characters and physicalize personal and Imagined experiences, they build empathy and social emotional awareness. Theatre provides an opportunity for students to investigate their feelings and the feelings of characters that have different experiences than they do.

ILLINOIS THEATRE STANDARDS ADDRESSED

ARTISTIC: As students develop storytelling techniques as performers, directors and designers, they progress in their theater skills and aesthetic sense. Our programming equips students to pursue theater with concrete theater-making skills and acting training.

Learn more about Professional Development opportunities, our Education Policies & FAQs, and our current roster of Teaching Artists.

If you have questions about CCT’s education programming please contact our Director of Education & Community Programs, Dexter Ellis, at dexter@chicagochildrenstheatre.org, or by calling (312) 374-8828.

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