Raising the Bar: Changing Perceptions at the Palace Theater
February 18, 2019
Chase Collegiate Middle and Upper School students had the opportunity to participate in an after school program created and executed by the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. The six-week course, Raising the Bar - Changing Perceptions, is the most recent in a decade of educational endeavors based on specific professional theater productions, integrating the performing arts with language arts, history, and other academic subjects.
The main stage production and national tour of Legally Blonde The Musical was in town for just three performances, February 15 - 16! Over the past seven years, evaluations of these programs revealed several academic and artistic achievements, including, but not limited to, a 30% increase in theater appreciation; a 55% increase in student ability to express themselves using poetry, expository writing, and other language arts techniques, and a 40% increase in students' self-confidence and self-expression.
Maggie McGuire, ‘20 embraced the chance to try something new, head off campus two times a week and continue to develop her studies in creative writing and theater production, while meeting new friends! The concepts of self-perception, conventions, and breaking boundaries were explored using Legally Blonde's themes of positivity, being true to oneself, and finding one's passion as a starting point. The program empowered students to challenge stereotypes and overcome negative perceptions through creative expression and critical analysis.
The course started with meeting and identifying people from the Greater Waterbury Community who have raised the bar in their personal careers, and encouraged participants to set high expectations for themselves in their own lives, careers and communities. One of the central messages of Legally Blonde The Musical is making positive changes, and one of the ways students will be challenged to see how they can "raise the bar” for themselves is through a Final Project to be presented on February 26th at the culminating ceremony for the program.
This past week the students took a backstage tour with the Technical Director of the venue, viewed a matinee performance of Legally Blonde The Musical; met the cast, and participated in a talk-back with the cast and Director of the show. The talk-back afforded the students a unique opportunity to engage with professional actors, and discuss the production's messages and social relevance.
The Palace Theater is a national touring house located in downtown Waterbury. It's mission is focused on serving as an artistic, cultural, educational and economic catalyst for the community; Chase began our direct support to the Educational Programs last year: https://www.palacetheaterct.org/education/
We look forward to continuing our partnership and encouraging more students to take advantage of the programs right down the street!