Northwestern, District 65 launch program to make theatre more accessible for students

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Daily file photo by Lauren Duquette

The Wirtz Center. A new partnership between Northwestern and Evanston/Skokie District 65 will bring third-grade students on field trips to the Wirtz Center.

Isabel Funk, Print Managing Editor

Northwestern is launching a community-based theatre program in partnership with Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Imagine U to make live theatre more accessible in Evanston and Chicago. 

The program, Learn and Imagine Together Through Theater, will begin in the 2022-23 academic year and is the University’s newest social impact partnership.

“The partnership provides our students with the opportunity to step into the role of teaching artists while being mentored by outstanding District 65 teachers,” Imagine U Founder Lynn Kelso said in a University news release.

Starting fall 2022, the Virginia Wadsworth Center for the Performing Arts will host weekday performances of Imagine U productions for District 65 students, which third-grade students will see on field trips to NU. The students will also meet the cast and production teams while on campus. 

This will recur annually so all District 65 students have the opportunity to visit NU. Before coming, the students will participate in classroom activities about the play’s themes and watch a virtual backstage tour of the Wirtz Center. 

After visiting, drama educators will lead students in lessons to engage dramatic skills. The lesson plans will be collaboratively developed by District 65 drama educators, NU faculty and undergraduate students. 

“I’ve long been interested in narrowing the distance between ivory tower and front porch, and engaging Evanston’s children in our theatre for young audiences programming is a critical part of this effort,” School of Communication Dean E. Patrick Johnson said in the news release.

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Twitter: @isabeldfunk

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