As the only professional theatre company in Utah creating new work specifically for elementary students each season, we are honored to serve schools statewide with our Free Elementary School Tour (FEST) as part of Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools (POPS), managed by the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and partially funded by the Utah State Legislature. FEST is also funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Click the app button above to download our free app and stay up-to-date on all our education programs. Or click here to email Education Coordinator Sharah Meservy for more information and to bring FEST to your school.

THE MISSION

Representation is the bedrock of FEST, which seeks to authentically connect what students see onstage with what they envision themselves creating as artists, expecting as patrons and supporting as citizens. USBE Arts Core Standards Strand 3 (Respond) and Strand 4 (Connect) are organically and thoroughly integrated into FEST. Additionally, simple, low-prep, pre- and post-assembly classroom activities are detailed in the Study Guide, incorporating Strand 1 (Create) and Strand 2 (Perform), as well as play-specific Core Standards.

THE OBJECTIVES

  • Expose elementary students to professional theatre by providing free, in-school professional performances of a world premiere play by a Utah playwright created specifically for them each school year.
  • Enrich elementary education
    • Help students create, perform, respond to, and connect with live theatre as outlined in Utah State Board of Education’s Fine Arts Core Standards
    • Provide teachers with quality curriculum and training for integrating theatre and playwriting into their classroom
  • Encourage discussion of complex issues
    • Contribute to a culture of empathy
    • Teach and reinforce healthy behaviors
    • Teach all students, particularly BIPOC students, that they have the ability to create theatre
    • Teach all students, particularly BIPOC students, that theatre can be about them and what they care about
  • Create from a foundation of diversity and inclusion
    • Prioritize Title I schools
    • Focus on representation, so more students see stories performed onstage by people who look and sound like them
    • Feature plays written primarily by female playwrights

Reflecting our Title I school audiences in each aspect of our work serves more than our own needs: our overarching, down-the-road-a-generation-and-beyond goal is to expand Utah's talent pool and performing arts audience - particularly among communities of color - by truly investing in, reflecting, and representing our community.

THE HISTORY

FEST launched with Sergei Prokofiev's PETER AND THE WOLF (a co-production with Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival, grades K-3, 2012-2013), a well-known title selected to pave the way for a series of world premieres by Utah playwrights: DIFFERENT=AMAZING by Matthew Ivan Bennett (grades 4-6, 2013-2014, 2014-2015); RUFF! by Jenifer Nii (grades K-3, 2015-2016); THE EDIBLE COMPLEX by Melissa Leilani Larson (grades 4-6, 2016-2017), RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN. by Elaine Jarvik (grades K-3, 2017-2018), ZOMBIE THOUGHTS by Jenny Kokai and her 11-year-old son Oliver Kokai-Means (grades K-6, 2018). Upcoming: FLORA MEETS A BEE by Morag Shepherd (grades K-3, 2019-2020), PRESENTING: SUPER CAT & REPTILE ROBOT by Rachel Bublitz (grades 2-4, 2020-2021), ALLI & #3 by Debora Threedy (grades K-3, 2021-2022), BALLET WITH ALIENS Jennifer Kokai & Oliver Kokai-Means (grades 4-6, 2022-2023), and a new play by Tito Livas (grade K-3, 2023-2024).

THE SCRIPT LIBRARY

Click here to access free scripts by Utah playwrights for grades K-12 (many with accompanying study guides, all downloadable as PDFs, all available for free in-class use, some available for full production) and our free K-6 playwriting curriculum (with accompanying videos, audio files, lesson plans and worksheets, which have all been translated into Spanish).

THE REPORTS

Reporting began during the 2017/18 school year.

FLORA MEETS A BEE (2019/20)
ZOMBIE THOUGHTS (2018/19)
RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN. (2017/18)

 

Free Elementary School Tour