In this theater arts program, Elmhurst middle school students rewrote and performed a version of West Side Story, titled “East Side Story,” that reflected relevant social and cultural concerns as well as current events in the neighborhood. The original story acted as a powerful catalyst in incorporating the students’ personal stories into the rewriting process.
The instructor encouraged storytelling and discovery of meaning by supporting the students into finding their “voices.” Students engaged in a highly supportive, lively art-making environment, guided by knowledgeable artists/instructors. Students experienced a variety of the dramatic arts firsthand, including play writing, acting, staging, choreography, and performing music.
Additionally, students learned the technical aspects of behind-the-scenes productions such as Stagecraft class, where they designed and constructed the costumes, props, and sets for the play.