The Free Elementary School Tour (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 Jennifer A. 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 4-6, 2020-2021), ALI AND #3 by Debora Threedy (grades K-3, 2021-2022) and a new play by Jennifer Kokai & Oliver Kokai-Means (grades 4-6, 2022-2023).
K-6 playwriting curriculum from Utah’s most produced playwright, Julie Jensen, based on her book Playwriting: Brief & Briiliant coming September 1, 2019.
Each of the plays below (downloadable as PDFs, including details on securing performance rights) were created to be performed by two adult actors but may be performed by student actors. Those marked * may be performed by larger student casts.
Script & Study Guide: FLORA MEETS A BEE (K-3)
Script & Study Guide: ZOMBIE THOUGHTS * (4-6)
Script & Study Guide: RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE,MOUNTAIN. (K-3, large cast version coming September 1, 2019)
Script & Study Guide: THE EDIBLE COMPLEX * (4-6)
Script & Study Guide: RUFF! (K-3)
Script & Study Guide: DIFFERENT=AMAZING * (4-6)
As the only professional theatre company in Utah creating new work specifically for elementary students each season, we are honored to serve elementary students statewide as part of the Professional Outreach Programs in the Schools (POPS), managed by the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and funded by the Utah State Legislature. Since 2015, FEST has also been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The mission of the Free Elementary School Tour (FEST) is 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.
FEST’s objectives are to:
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
- Assist in establishing sustainable theatre programs
Create from a foundation of diversity and inclusion
- Prioritize Title I schools
- Focus on multi-racial casting so more students see stories performed onstage by people who look and sound like them
- Feature plays written primarily by female playwrights
Encourage discussion of complex issues
- Prioritize Title I schools
- Contribute to a culture of empathy
- Teach and reinforce healthy behaviors
- Teach students that they have the ability to create theatre
- Teach students theatre can be about them
- Teach students that theatre can be about what they care about