New Voices "Peace by Piece"

2015 was the pilot year for our literacy program, New Voices “Peace by Piece.”

The goal of New Voices is to improve students reading and writing skills through inspired creativity while promoting self-esteem, motivation and respect for themselves and others, all through the engaging and invigorating avenue of the performing arts.

In the Fall of 2015 our Education department, in partnership with Child’s Play Touring Theatre, a non-profit arts education theatre group based in Chicago, implemented an eight-week Artist-in-Residency intensive program executed under the direction of two teaching artists from a frequent educational partner, Freedom Theatre of Philadelphia. Fourth grade students from both Gesu School in North Philadelphia and Discovery Charter School in West Philadelphia were inspired to create group-generated stories, showing how they can make a difference in the world and bring about peaceful solutions to problems based upon the Liberty: Unplugged! Festival’s celebration of the lives and movements of Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. This powerful outlet allowed students to write their own stories, showcasing their individual voices and imagination through what they have learned about the issues of freedom from slavery, voting rights and human rights. The program provided a powerful teaching tool that enhanced the learning process for reading and writing which will remain with each student after the program has concluded.

At the end of the eight-week intensive program, a finale performance took place at each participating school. Child’s Play Touring Theatre returned to perform the written works that the fourth grade students created for a full assembly at Discovery Charter School on Tuesday, November 17th & Gesu School on Wednesday, November 18th. The plays were very well received by the audience, with many interactive portions requiring students to sing along and engage with the actors-and some of the students were even brought up to act out some of the roles they created themselves! 


Connecting Arts-N-Schools has been made possible with support from:

 Campbell Soup Foundation   Crown Brand-Building Packaging Pitcairn   Wells Fargo

  • The LENFEST Foundation
  • Enon Baptist Community Ministries
  • Anonymous

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