Benjamin Banneker – the Musical or Wayside Theatre in the Classroom

Things never slow down in the Education Department. Right after we opened George Washington: Young Man, Young Country I started a “Play’s the Thing” playwrighting workshop at Banneker Elementary School in Loudoun County. But, this workshop is even more special because it is a musical theatre play to commemorate the anniversary of the school. I am working with the fifth graders to write the play, and Steve Przybylski, our resident music director is working with the fourth graders to write the music (he started the day after he opened his show, Shadow of the Raven). I just found out yesterday that the entire school is getting involved. The librarian has checked out all the books on Benjamin Banneker and put them in the fifth grade classrooms. The students are using their computer time to research Banneker’s life on the web. And they are fullfilling their journal writing by keeping a record of their experience of crafting this play.

It is exciting to see Wayside’s goal of theatre adding to the kids education in action.Right now, the fifth graders are refining their outline of the play, which scene comes next and what characters we need. The fourth graders are working on what styles of music they want in the play. I can’t wait till we start improving some scenes and actually write some dialogue on the page.Thinking back on all the “Play’s the Thing” workshops I have done, they have been historical plays: The Extraordinary Adventure of Jamestown, George Washington: Young Man, Young Country, and now this musical about Benjamin Banneker (who worked for George Washington, by the way). All historical events and figures that were essential to the growth of our nation. I love my job.


1 Response to “Benjamin Banneker – the Musical or Wayside Theatre in the Classroom”

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Inside Wayside is a weblog designed and operated by the staff of Wayside Theatre. It serves as a portal for dialogue within our community. Think of this as your backstage pass to our theatre and our world.

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