American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
Exciting and Inciting Students with the Possibilities of Words and Language (and even Shakespeare).
Poetry. It’s using language to express those innermost thoughts and feelings that seem inexpressible; actually experiencing feelings through words. In a culture of instant gratification that often values efficiency and speed over reflection and thought, poetry can be a bit daunting.
The Potency of Poetry invites students to confront language and discover what it has to offer them. This program goes beyond “decoding” language to make it personal, purposeful, provocative and entertaining for the students. It is a dramatic experience that allows them to explore the printed word’s total range of possibilities.
The program is led by a specially trained teaching artist, a professional APT actor whose performance can make words come alive for students in ways they never thought possible.
APT’s strength lies in our boundless enthusiasm for the power of language – our belief that words are necessary and beautiful, and that new words lead to new ideas which lead to new worlds. For years, American Players Theatre has been sharing the poetry of Shakespeare with a wide audience, making it clear and vivid for people who never thought they could “get it.” APT has a thriving education department, and for years our performances for students and accompanying workshops have been a staple for hundreds of schools. But we felt our education program held untapped promise. So we asked ourselves: Is there a way to use the unique performance skills of APT actors to infect students with our excitement for poetry? There is, and Potency of Poetry is it.
Ideally, Potency of Poetry is a weeklong residency where the teaching artist spends a 45-60 minute period with up to six classes daily. However, PoP may also be presented as a 3-day residency or a single workshop.
PoP is available for students in grades 3-12, and is divided into three levels of age appropriate programming:
The Poetry of Words, for grades 3-5, plays with the combination of suffixes, prefixes and roots of words, and helps establish a whole-body relationship to those words by exploring sound and meaning.
The Poetry of Me, for grades 6-9, creates the experience of the why, what and need of poetry, and engages students in pieces that focus on personal expression and experience.
The Poetry of Us, for grades 9-12, illustrates poetry, while establishing how effective language connects us deeply to the universality of the human experience.
We understand that time in the classroom is precious, so Potency of Poetry was designed to meet a number of Wisconsin curriculum standards, including:
These are only a few of the standards PoP addresses.
“…the ideas presented and how they were presented broadened expressive language possibilities for kids. This fits perfectly [in our curriculum].” — Emerson Elementary School, Madison
“[Students] learned more about poetry than they ever have… they see how much poetry can connect to everyday life now.” — Stoughton High School, Stoughton
“The day after our pilot residency ended, I asked students to write down some of the things they learned from the workshop. I received responses such as, ‘I realized I underestimate poetry and words.’ ‘I learned that poetry has no boundaries.’ ‘I understand that it’s my job as a reader to find the meaning in a poem.’ ‘What you put into poetry is what you get out of poetry.’ And my personal favorite, ‘Poetry moves people, even men.’” –River Valley High School, Spring Green
The cost of the 5-day residency is $2600, the 3-day residency is $1900 and the 1-day residency is $900.
APT recognizes the fiscal restraints of many organizations in recent years, and it is our commitment to provide outreach to as many groups as possible. We are happy to help guide you in pursuing local, state and national grant sources.
We begin booking residencies in mid-March for the coming school year.
Please contact APT's Education Coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org.