Quarterly Newsletter – June 2017
Welcome to our first ever Quarterly Newsletter!
We are excited to update you on two new community projects, our recent Mainstage production and a financial report of the current 2016-17 fiscal year.
A Letter from the Executive Director
It’s that time again. We are winding down another season of Studio East’s Mainstage and StoryBook Theater. This past quarter has been an exciting one for us: We welcomed three new board members – Adam Barr, a Microsoft retiree, Shiraz Cupala, VP Product at OfferUP, and Beth Gale, Manager of Marketing and Operations at The Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce. We also celebrated 25 years of Studio East’s involvement in the community with our Curtains Up event, which raised over $62k for our 2017-18 Mainstage season. The party will continue as we prepare for our Jest for Funds 2017 Auction which will take place on November 11, 2017.
In a fantastic sold-out closing weekend, we ended our run of the world premiere of Wonderland! written and directed by Samuel Pettit and Justin Beal. It was a privilege to provide the platform for this tremendously fun and ingenious show. Next up is Mary Poppins for our annual summer teen show with about 50 amazing Studio East kids. Don’t miss it this July and August at the Kirkland Performance Center. I have also just completed writing the first show of the 2017-18 StoryBook Theater season – The Tortoise and the Hare. I am especially excited about this one as the message is something we all need to be reminded of – “Be yourself and do your best.”
None of this would be possible without you, our wonderful patrons. It’s because of your continued support, commitment and involvement to Studio East and StoryBook Theater that we are able to provide these opportunities in performing arts. We are grateful for every parent, every child, every volunteer that walks through our doors and onto the stage. It takes a village to make all of this happen, and each season we continue to be blown away by our faithful patrons.
Executive Artistic Director
FINANCIAL REPORT TO DATE
INCOME SOURCES: EXPENSE SOURCES:
Total: 1,235,000 Total: 1,267,000
3rd QUARTER IMPACT NUMBERS
IMPACTING THE COMMUNITY
The Resilience Project: Breaking Down the Stigma of Mental Health Through The Arts
Studio East is privileged to partner with EvergreenHealth in creating the Resilience Project, an in-school workshop program designed to build awareness about mental health issues faced by young people and break the stigma around discussing them, through the vehicle of creative arts. Education through the prism of the creative process allows students to approach this material in an atmosphere of non-judgmental support and experiential learning.
The American Psychological Association states that, “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” This is the basis of the Resilience Project – that everyone has the capability to learn and develop what it means to be resilient.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Adolescent Health, approximately one out of five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly one third show symptoms of depression. In the past year, less than half of the adolescents with psychiatric disorders received any kind of treatment. Many attribute this to the social stigma that surrounds mental health disorders as well as the difficulty in accessing mental health care.
With Studio East’s mission to help create confident, compassionate, responsible young people through training in the performing arts, and EvergreenHealth’s mission to deliver innovative and accessible solutions for changing health needs, this partnership has the potential for a positive impact on thousands of students in the area.
The pilot program of the Resilience Project was held at Juanita High School in May. Program developers Julie Grant, MFA, MAP, MSW and Etalia Thomas, MA, LPCC, R-DMT worked with two classes for 90 minutes over two days. With their expertise in the Creative Arts (Performance and Education), Therapy, Psychology, and Social Work, Julie and Etalia are able to effectively combine art education with mental health education.
The ultimate goal in these first classes was to open up communication and create an environment where students were free to talk about issues such as depression, self-harm and anxiety. Through each workshop, creating a safe environment for open conversation was an essential starting point. “It’s treating the entire room as a community with individuals operating with their own unique needs and resources that they bring to the table,” says Julie Grant.
During the workshops, the students participated in movement exercises, mural work, photography, theater exercises, as well as a lot of conversation along the way. Rather that receiving information in the form of a lecture, students engaged their physical and creative selves as well as their minds, enabling them to absorb the information on an organic level.
Students left the workshops with specific tools and resources, handouts on resilience, information on school counselors and more. “If we can leave kids knowing they are not alone, that they have resources, that there is support, that there are ways to learn to be resilient in life, then I think we have succeeded,” says Julie Grant.
The long-term goal is to implement the Resilience Project in Elementary and Middle Schools as well as High Schools in East King County.
Neighborhood Bridges Program: A Literacy Program Developed Through Theater
Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literary program developed by the largest theater company in the nation, Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, in 1997. The Bridges program has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national model for arts education. This Spring, Studio East was privileged to join the program as we launched our pilot season with a home school class.
The Bridges program uses storytelling, creative writing, and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives. Students learn the power of narrative through examining text and, more importantly, the world around them. They are taught to identify assumptions, values, and power in stories and thus, they learn to ask questions and transform narratives.
The program addresses state and national language arts standards. In participating classrooms, the classroom teacher collaborates with a Studio East teaching artist to provide 10 weekly, 2-hour sessions. Currently, Studio East offers this program for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms.
One of our teaching artists, Andrew Coopman, expressed his excitement at being involved with the program. “It reinforces creativity and theatrical storytelling with writing skills used in everyday life, while challenging students to look at stories from multiple perspectives.” Since the teaching artist works with the classroom teacher, the students are honing their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills all while practicing their creativity.
This project uses storytelling to teach literacy, but it also dives even deeper by asking second and third questions of reading comprehension, such as – who’s telling the story, who’s not in the story, who’s not being represented, what do the inanimate objects think.
Bridge’s influence is particularly evident among English Language Learners. Fifteen percent more of these students meet or exceed state standards in reading when compared to ELL students who have not been in Neighborhood Bridges. Exceeding goals, 100% of 2nd and 3rd grade students and 97% of 4th-6th graders who participated in Neighborhood Bridges met the benchmark for student achievement in writing.
“To help teach grade school kids reading along with teaching them to not just think linearly is really special,” says Executive Director of Studio East, Lani Brockman. “It’s teaching kids awareness and to look at a situation from many different perspectives which is huge in this world.”
The world premiere of Wonderland showed on our Studio East stage three weekends in May and June. It was a tremendous success thanks to our very talented young performers and all of those who cheered them on.
A Word From Wonderland Director & Writer Sam Pettit…
Wonderland has been an interesting experience taking such a well-known story and adapting it into a modern fairy tale suited to children and young adults. Since the Alice stories are centered around different board games, Justin Beal (Wonderland’s musical director) and I worked to find a modern equivalent, and thus we came to the concept of video games.
It was also important to us to create a hero who was flawed and who had something that needed to be learned. Our students are dealing with much more than a simple tea party, so we took great pains to make our Alice’s issues more complex and relatable. Often children’s stories have simple morals of “do good and don’t do bad,” or the lead character is a special “chosen one” for no apparent reason. Our Alice, however, has a lot to deal with, and this makes her a much more three dimensional character.
Taking material and adapting it for the stage is like a wonderful game with different puzzles around the plot and structure that have to be solved. As creative individuals, it’s a very rewarding process to watch a musical go from concept to full production in less than a year. The students, as well as Justin and myself, enjoyed the challenge of bringing the story of Wonderland to you. We hope you all enjoyed it.
A Word From Wonderland Audience Member, Jennifer Morton Kirkland…
“Wonderland is just lovely. Bittersweet and hilarious, topical (for our family) and sad. I am so very impressed, even more than my usual with the Studio. I plan to buy the DVD, I want a soundtrack, and I wouldn’t say no to a songbook either. This one really touched me, and it’s my favorite I’ve seen at the Studio thus far.”
STUDIO EAST’S SUMMER TEEN MUSICAL MARY POPPINS
Mary Poppins is officially cast and rehearsals have begun! We had over 50 students audition for this musical. It has great leads, a ton of featured roles and the dancing is challenging and includes a lot of tap.
Mary Poppins will show two weekends with six shows at the Kirkland Performance Center.
JEST FOR FUNDS 2017 AUCTION
Our annual benefit auction is coming up on November 11, 2017. Here’s how you can help:
- Do you work for a company that might be interested in donating?
- Do you own a timeshare or vacation home that might provide a donation?
- Or maybe you can snag a gift card donation from your favorite local restaurant?
A Word From the Mayor of Kirkland
Last Summer, we had the privilege of having Amy Walen, the Mayor of Kirkland in our production of The Wizard of Oz. Her words on the experience…
“I was honored to portray the Mayor of Munchkinland. I was impressed with the professionalism shown by the kids, how they watched out for each other, and how each person in the production was equally important. This program teaches kids that they are valuable, that they need to pull their weight for the whole show to work, and that they are part of a community that loves and cares about them, and therefore requires them to work hard, but also to celebrate success. I’m a fan!”