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Pushcart Players Awarded Contract For Non-Profit Arts Partner At Martin Luther King School No. 6

originally published: 03/27/2017

Pushcart Players Awarded Contract For Non-Profit Arts Partner At Martin Luther King School No. 6

Pushcart Players, the renowned touring theater for young audiences celebrating its 43rd year, has been awarded the contract for Non-Profit Arts Partner of “Readers Theater – AIM to Achieve Project” at Martin Luther King School No. 6 in Passaic New Jersey. This first time board of education grant is for a pilot program in which Pushcart teaching artists will be engaged throughout the 2016-17 academic year in this unique Title I school.

The “Reader’s Theater – AIM to Achieve Project” (Arts Integration at MLK) is an afterschool program for first through fourth grade students.  From January through June, in one session out of five each week, Pushcart teaching artists provide the theatrical component of a program that delivers dynamic participation in multiple art forms. AIM to Achieve addresses NJ Student Language Arts Standards for comprehension, fluency, and writing, and NJ Standards for Theater, Music, and Visual Art. Consistent with the MLK No. 6 goal of becoming a leading urban school district in the State, their focus is to provide every student the opportunity to complete sixth grade reading at or above grade level.

Pushcart concentrates with the students on a number of stories throughout the year. Guided by dedicated teachers on the MLK faculty, the children work on reading, comprehension, and, presentation. Visiting teachers and teaching artists provide a visual arts component, wherein props are created and constructed by the students. Music teachers support the work by engaging the young learners in music and musical enhancement of each story.

Pushcart teachers and teaching artists direct the theatricality of the performance, giving instruction on theater technique and terminology; use of voice, body, and imagination in character creation; stage directions and choreography, and public performance skills.



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“During this twenty-two week program, the learners will greatly improve their reading skills through the creation of theater,” said Paul Whelihan, Pushcart producing artistic director, and one of the teaching artists for the AIM to Achieve initiative. “I follow a very similar process for guiding these young actors as I do when directing the professionals in Pushcart’s troupe – perhaps a slightly more age-appropriate academic approach. But by translating stories for the stage, we open an engaging pathway to learning both language and reading skills, while vastly improving comprehension. And, I have to say, the process is a whole lot of fun -- not only for the children, but for their teachers!”

Ellen Beattie, the Pushcart co-teaching artist for AIM to Achieve, is a theater teacher and director at Franklin Middle School in Somerset, NJ. A professional actor, theater administrator, casting director, and producer before becoming a drama teacher twelve years ago, Beattie has a long standing relationship with Pushcart Players, variously as an artist, staff member, and trustee on the board of directors.

Funding for the AIM project is through the NJ Board of Education Title I Arts-Integration Program. This is a federally-funded pilot program designed to explore and investigate how arts education can be applied as a strategy to assist Title I students in meeting New Jersey's academic achievement standards. It is also designed to bolster school improvement efforts. Title I grants are intended to ensure that the most financially and socially disadvantaged children have a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach proficiency on challenging state academic standards and assessments.

This and many similar projects are supported by the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership (NJAEP), a diverse group of constituents who agree on the educational benefits and impact of the arts, specifically the contribution they make to student achievement and a civilized, sustainable society. In September, NJAEP launched the “Arts Ed Now” campaign. Spurred by collaboration with the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Americans for the Arts, “Arts Ed Now” is a multi-year campaign designed to increase participation in arts education in schools across the Garden State. Pushcart Players serves on the NJAEP Steering Committee. Visit www.ArtsEdNow.org for further information and resources.

Pushcart Players is the award-winning professional touring theater company specializing in arts education for children. Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A social-profit organization founded in 1974, Pushcart brings substantive musical theater, workshops, and residencies to young people and their families in schools and theaters nationwide. The company has traveled more than 6 million miles nationally and abroad, from the rural red schoolhouse to the nation’s White House.

Pushcart Players addresses social studies, literature, history, the Autism spectrum, special educational needs, and values clarification for young people, their families, and their educators. All performances by professional artists (Actors’ Equity Association) are supported by study guides, post-performance assessments and other supplemental materials, and adapt to any location with innovative scenery, lighting and sound systems.

PHOTO:  Ellen Beattie conducts AIM To Achieve Session at MLK School 6 in Passaic. Photo by Harvey Glick





New Feathers Productions To Present "Naked Call" by Ken Kaissar
(NEW HOPE, PA) -- New Feathers Productions will present the featured, full-length, new works reading of Naked Call by award-winning, playwright Ken Kaissar on Thursday, December 20th.  Naked Call will be professionally produced and presented for one night only and is the featured reading as the successful season concludes at the James A. Michener Art Museum.  Tickets include a museum pass with access to the latest exhibitions and the ever-popular, pre-show wine gathering with the creatives at 6:15pm, Naked Call starts promptly at 7:00pm and runs approximately 75 minutes.   
Women's Theater Company Presents "Carol Channeling, Caroling"
(PARSIPPANY, NJ) -- The Women’s Theater Company, a professional theater company in Parsippany, NJ, presents Carol Channeling, Caroling starring Maggie Graham with Music Direction by Seth Weinstein on December 15 and 16 Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3:00pm. Carol Channeling returns to the Parsippany Playhouse with her band of merry impersonations for 2 performances only.
State Theatre and Crossroads Theatre Company Present "Common Ground"
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey and the Tony Award®-winning Crossroads Theatre Company present Common Ground – A Holiday Musical Celebration of Community on Sunday, December 16 at 3:00pm. Featuring star Shanice Williams from NBC's broadcast of The Wiz Live. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, and $5 for children.
Playhouse 22 Presents "A Christmas Carol"
(EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ) --- Playhouse 22 will be presenting its annual production of A Christmas Carol from December 7 - 16.  Directed and adapted by Tony Adase, A Christmas Carol at Playhouse 22 is based on the Charles Dickens' piece by the same name.  It is the story of a miserable miser who learns to keep Christmas in his heart with the help of several ghostly visitations.  A show for the whole family, the Playhouse 22 production is celebrating its 23rd annual year at the theater.  
The Ritz Theatre Co. Presents "Scrooge, The Musical"
(HADDON TOWNSHIP, NJ) -- The Ritz Theatre Co. will present its annual holiday classic Scrooge, The Musical from December 7th through December 23rd.  This show is a tradition for families across our region, and is fun for all ages. Led by Producing Artistic Director Bruce A. Curless, Bruce plays the title character of Ebenezer Scrooge. This will be the twenty-third year and final year that Bruce dons the wool cap and is chased through visions of his life by three famous ghosts!


PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST.  It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign.  On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Betsy Aidem Puts A Woman's Touch On George Street Playhouse's "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.” But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.
REVIEW: "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn" at Paper Mill Playhouse
One man’s ambition is comfortable yet to another it is anathema.  This is the simplest way to convey the central theme of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn – now playing at Papermill Playhouse.  The show is a rich, effervescent, beautiful, fun, musical that is well worth booking tickets for.  It enthralled my phone addicted 13 year-old and earned a shout out on Instagram - high praise in and of itself.
REVIEW: "A Doll's House, Part 2" at George Street Playhouse
For well over a century the world has been wondering what ever happened to Nora Helmer from Henrik Ibsen’s classic play A Doll’s House.  Nora was a woman during the 19th century in male dominated Norway when women could not sign contracts without their husband’s permission.  She challenged this law, essentially committing forgery.  And, even though she committed a crime for the purpose of saving her husband’s life, her actions wound up destroying her marriage when someone tried to blackmail her. 






Event calendar
Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018


MUSIC

ALAN SCARDAPANE @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm


THEATRE

Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm

The Night Before Christmas Carol @ The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCCArts), Branchburg - 1:00pm and 7:00pm

A Christmas Carol @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


KIDS

The Shoemaker & the Christmas Elves @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 10:30am


MISC

Sam Darnold Meet & Greet @ iPlay America, Freehold - 5:00pm






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