WORDTheatre in the Schools a.k.a. WITS
Welcome to WITS
Before books, cultures relied upon oral storytellers to teach values to future generations. WORDTheatre emulates this tradition by giving voice to great writing, taking literature from the page to your classrooms, auditoriums or students’ electronic devices.
Requiring language arts in the school curriculum affirms our shared conviction that understanding the power of the written word is essential for our young people. On a practical level, language arts teach the skills needed to communicate effectively. However, stories also teach something more profound. They teach perspective and compassion. They invite us into other people’s lives, breaking down prejudice and ignorance, helping us to redefine “other” as a different form of “us.” Stories offer us heroes to look up to, often ordinary people like your students, who perform unsung acts of courage.
Bringing great literature to high school and college students is central to our mission. Our objective is to partner with interested schools to make available the WORDTheatre resources that best serve a school’s curriculum. WITS programs are tailored to support the needs of both public and independent high schools, as well as community colleges, four year colleges and universities.
Since 2003, WORDTheatre has championed stories written by the most compelling contemporary authors with live performances by esteemed actors. They have all been recorded and we offer this rich library as a wonderful resource for you and your teachers.
When students experience stories transformed from the page by WORDTheatre actors — many whom they recognize from TV shows or movies — they encounter storytelling in its most dynamic and most accessible form. During a performance, students can forget the reader’s tasks of decoding meaning or interpreting tone. Instead, they are swept into the stories, responding intuitively to them, awakening to the ways that literature can speak to them and address the issues they face.
“It has been my honor to watch Cedering Fox and her performers and authors change the lives of students at Venice High School, through her amazing WORDTheatre productions. Her topics are always timely, touching and heart-wrenching, such that students, in their reflections, are left changed as they leave the room.”
– Wendy Sarnoff, Teacher at Venice High School, Venice, California, U.S.A.
“Your continued support of Oaklands School means an enormous amount to us and the students are highly engaged by the performances and discussions, during and after your session. We feel very lucky to have this ongoing relationship with WORDTheatre.”
– Rebecca Trenow, Teacher at The Oaklands School, Bethnal Green, London, U.K.
LIBRARY OF SHORT STORIES
WITS’ stories illuminate themes most relevant to students, including:
Bullying | Finding one’s voice | Racism | Ethnic identity | Unconscious bias | Domestic violence | People experiencing homelessness | Defining self | Gender identity |Code-switching | Mental illness | Depression | Anxiety | Coping with loss | Dreams | Avenues for change
Available filmed versions of our live-on-stage, literature based, music-infused events include:
“In the Cosmos…” | “And All That Jazz,” | “Mysteries of the Mind,” | “Dreams,” quotes from Lord Byron to the Beatles | “Burning Hearts: An Epistolary Tale” | “The Road Ahead: A Cheer for Education” | “A Tribute to Langston Hughes” | “Witness: The John Edgar Wideman Experience” | “Notes on Living: The Stories of Brian Doyle” | “The Odyssey,” from Emily Wilson’s recent translation
WORDTheatre produces internationally streamed short story readings followed by a Q & A with the featured writer (s). When appropriate, these can be made available to students and teachers on WORDTheatre’s website. Each school will have its own login administered by a school representative.
We also invite universities and colleges to contact us. We can provide programming that supports creative writing and literature classes. We have recordings of interviews with many of our featured authors to accompany performances of their stories.
Partnering with WITS
Our mission is to bring great literature to schools to help students experience the joy of reading and the power and relevance of great writing. WITS is a program designed to enhance teachers’ work in the classroom, so we look to you to help us best serve your needs. Our goal is to work with interested schools in the United States and the United Kingdom.
If you would like to receive more information about the kinds of programming we can offer you, whether you are a government-funded (‘ie ‘private in the U.K. and public, Title One’ in the U.S.) school, or a fee-based, (‘private, Independent in the U.S.,’) or a University or College Administrator, please email our Schools Coordinator at [email protected].