For our 2000/2001 Season, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble requests NEA Access
Funding in support of our traveling educational theatre experience, Theatre in
the Classroom (TIC). A major component of BTE programming for over 20 years, TIC
is a fully developed project which in 1999 reached 31,000 young people in 122
performances at 79 different locations.
The "TIC style" is direct, simple, imaginative and compelling. Sets and props
are minimal, as they must fit in a van to be assembled in places more likely to
be gymnasiums or cafeterias than formal theatres. In fact, we deliberately avoid
using a stage, preferring to seat the students in a horseshoe shape on the floor
with no student more than six rows from the actors. To this end, we also
restrict audiences to 350 per show, preferring to do three shows a day in the
same school rather than pack all students into one impersonal "assembly" format.
Most trips are one day, with a few overnights sprinkled throughout the two month
tour. Performances are forty-five minutes long to fit into class schedules, and
are followed by a lively Question and Answer period, where students are able to
ask questions about the show and about us as theatre artists.
Though the performance is the centerpiece of the TIC educational experience, we
also offer workshops and residencies to the schools that build upon the
performance. In advance of the tour, we supply the teachers with well-researched
and thought-provoking study guides to use as a tool for incorporating the TIC
topic into their daily curriculum. We send the schools follow-up teacher
response forms, where we ask for feedback on the show and request ideas for
future TIC topics. At the performance, we encourage the students to write or
draw pictures of what they have seen and send it to us at BTE. We want to be
more than an hour's entertainment for the students -- we make efforts to ensure
that TIC can be part of the school's educational endeavors.