Children’s & Young Audiences’ Programs


A man and woman holding bananas in front of a pink hair wig.

Actors from “Sadie’s Spectacular Saturday,” Photo courtesy of Bright Star Touring Theatre for the Essential Theatre

The Essential Theatre’s Children’s Program in Public Schools was initiated in the winter of 1993. The Program maintains relationships with DC Public Schools and communities in southeast Washington DC, wards 7 and 8, historically the city’s quadrants receiving fewer arts related services.

The general purpose of this program is to introduce students attending selected schools to the theatrical process. An interdisciplinary educational approach is used that directly supports traditional classroom curricula, and can extend to structured after school and out-of-school programming. Students gain exposure to each of three aspects of theatre–acting, production and management.  The program’s core objective is to arm students with a sense of accomplishment through assuming different levels of responsibility and working together to realize a culminating valued, quality product. Students experience numerous academic and social benefits as a result of this exposure.

Two men on stage performing a skit for the audience.

Young audiences’ presentation of Bright Star Touring Children Theatre. Photo by Sharon C. Farmer Photography

Presentations as well as Classroom instruction offer students activities through theatre arts that make traditional classroom lessons come to life through dramatizations of topics such as history, science and math while enhancing participating students core reading and writing skills. As an extension of the traditional program an annual series of young audiences performances take place at partner schools and DC Public Libraries. These performances broaden the program’s reach in an effort to offer observational educational opportunities along with the experiential offerings.

The program also provides community service volunteer hours and internship opportunities for students from surrounding school districts and universities who need hours as partial completion for graduation. These students’ work are pivotal in advancing company operations and provides the students with experiences that eases their transition into post secondary educational settings and the work world.

Photo credit: Insect photo by Sharon C. Farmer © 2017



It's Essential!

A person laying on the ground holding a guitar

"The main lesson I learned was to not be afraid to try anything or to do something different. So many of us are afraid to get out of our own comfort zone and as a result, we stay in stagnant positions."

Dennis Tyrelle Turner, Musician/Clinician, Co-Owner, Honest Media 1993 participant, Children's Program in Public Schools at Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School.