theater in (waldorf) education:
play direction for schools (8th grade and up)
work with class teachers / drama teachers - consulting
All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts...
(William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II,7)
William Shakespeare says it all in the famous quote above – every human being is on stage from birth to death, and plays a great many parts on this journey. Creating theater is a marvelous tool to strengthen and explore the capacities that will help us stand on the world stage with greater consciousness, individuality, and freedom. Creating theater fosters a myriad of skills – team work, listening, empathy, as well as the maybe more obvious abilities connected to strengthening memory and language proficiency, to name only a few. Another skill the young people have the opportunity to develop in this process is to learn to work with what life sends their way in a positive and spirited way – not suffering it, but giving their best no matter what. For some, this means playing an outwardly smaller part, meeting the challenge of serving the whole. For others, this means stretching themselves well beyond what they thought they could (or wanted to) do. In every case, the students will experience that the theater creation is a universe in which everyone has their place. In a sense, the play mirrors in a nutshell what Waldorf education strives to bring into the world – encouraging the child and young person to develop in the most fully rounded way possible, so that each may step into the rest of their lives filled with a sense of possibility, responsibility, and self-assurance.
As a trained Waldorf/Steiner teacher, educational eurythmist, professional theater maker, and clown, I have a uniquely rich “backpack” to draw from. This has allowed me to gain experience directing school plays (from 7th grade through 12th grade, also in public schools).
In the 8th grade (or in another grade) of a Waldorf School, the class teacher calls me in as a support or as the main director. In either case, our collaboration is very close, and entirely inspired by the educational task the play production is intended to fulfill. Nevertheless, my professional theater background and long-time experience under varied circumstances focuses my work to create art as well as an educational moment – I believe this is the gift of Waldorf Education, a gift that becomes ever more important in this world.
I offer play direction for schools (8th grade and up) - work with class teachers / drama teachers - consulting
Feedback from teachers and parents:
"Benedicta is a nurturing and creative visionary who is able to translate that vision into effective feedback for students, enabling them to grow as artists".
- Dawn Lemirand-Poepping, Beloit High School, Wisconsin
"Benedicta's work with the children not only inspired them to be their best, I believe it also inspired everyone else who came into to contact with the play. There was a community that responded and came to witness this magic".
- Ray Mata, parent, Kapa'a, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
"Benedicta was a highly effective teacher, an incredible inspiration and a wonderful resource for my class's Shakespeare Scenes and Circus production in 7th grade. She was the co-director for my 8th grade play, Les Misérables which exceeded everyone's expectations. An amazing teacher of drama and a fantastic clown, Benedicta brings so many gifts to any drama production: speech, pantomime, music, and directing".
- Regine Shemroske, Waldorf Educator and Mentor, Ann Arbor, Michigan
"Words cannot express the depth of what Benedicta brought to my graduating class! She brought Shakespeare alive in these children (no easy task) but more, she brought the children into themselves, fully and truly! They stood and moved and spoke and gave forth from their WHOLE BODIES AND SPIRITS and she midwifed this 'wholeness' out beyond them and into our community. They left and we left with an experience that was much much more than a lovely evening watching a play - it was a life changer."
Kim Murriera, Waldorf Teacher & Creative Arts Therapist, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
"Our whole family was touched by the wonder of how Benedicta worked with the children of our home school group. Her uncanny ability to tap into and draw out onto the stage the innate capacities and potentials of each individual child, allowed us all, actors and audience, to experience something inexplicably magical and wonderful. Benedicta's process, from preparation to performance, is about so much more than putting on a play. The transformative power of her work is priceless. Our son went from loathing the idea of acting in their school play to not only loving it, but to lighting up from the inside because of it. Mahalo Benedicta for your good work of tapping into the hearts and souls of our children--something that so rarely happens in the world of education these days."
- Kathleen Viernes, parent, Kapa'a, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
Some of the schools I have worked with: Beloit High School, Beloit, Wisconsin - South Beloit High School, South Beloit, Illinois - Parker High School (with students from Craig High School also), Janesville, Wisconsin - Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Ghent, NY - Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, Newtown, CT - Great Barrington Waldorf School, Great Barrington, MA - Ala Palamea Waldorf Home School, Kaua'i, Hawai'i - Scuola Waldorf di Torino, Italy...