What is WYO PLAY?
WYO PLAY is an education initiative of the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center. It is a dynamic series of educational programs aimed at all age groups in creative, collaborative, and playful artmaking. ‘PLAY’ stands for Place-based Performances, Life-long Learning, Accessibility for All, and Youthfulness!
WYO PLAY CALENDAR
- Creative Aging – Classes at the Hub on Smith
- Acting Out! – Elementary School Outreach Program in SCSD2 Schools
- Future Filmmakers Program – Screenwriting Classes
- Middle School Drama Club – Outreach Program in District 1 Schools
- Creative Aging – Classes at the Hub on Smith
- Future Filmmakers Program – Filmshoot
- Young Theatre Makers Ensemble – Auditions & Saturday Sessions
- Spring Youth Musical – Auditions and Rehearsals
- Spring Youth Musical Performances
- Stories from Scratch – Storytelling camp with Dave Sage
- Young Theatre Makers Ensemble – Summer Production
- Broadway Jr Musical Revue – Partnership with Aspen Grove Music Studio
Using the Lifetime Arts Model, WYO PLAY offers skills-based arts instruction in performing arts disciplines for people aged 55 years and up. The goal is to help participants expand their skills and build relationships in the process. Participants meet once per week for eight weeks. At the end of each 8-week course, there is a culminating performance. Past offerings have included classes focused on Storytelling, Dance, and Voice taught by Grace Cannon, Stephanie Koltiska, and Amanda Patterson respectively. This program is a collaboration with the Hub on Smith.
An outreach program in collaboration with Sheridan County School District 2, Acting Out brings interactive storytelling to elementary school students during their regular After School Programming through the school district. Teaching Artists of this program promote literacy among student participants through interactive play with familiar and new stories. The Teaching Artist tells a story with help from the students – then, the students get to act it out! Sessions also include visual arts projects and theater games. The original curriculum is created in collaboration with teachers, students and WYO Staff.
Future Filmmakers Program
The Future Filmmaker Program provides a unique opportunity for Sheridan area youth to learn about multiple areas of film production, including Screenwriting, Directing, Sound Recording, and Editing. Through a series of classes and hands-on training on the production of a short film, students are guided by local and national film professionals. Students have the opportunity to write their own screenplays, collaborate on a film shoot, and present a short film during the WYO Film Festival in October. They learn teamwork, compassion, and self-worth by being empowered to lead with their creative ideas throughout the process.
Middle School Drama Club
An outreach program in collaboration with Sheridan County School District 1, Middle School Drama Club engages students at Tongue River and Big Horn Middle School simultaneously in the devising of an original, short play over the course of 6 weeks of rehearsals. At the end of the 6 weeks, the groups from the two different schools come together at the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center to perform together on Sofie’s Stage. Students learn to share the stage, celebrate themselves and each other, and they develop key storytelling and performance skills.
Young Theatre Makers Ensemble
The Young Theatre Makers Ensemble brings together high school theatre artists from around the Sheridan area to collaborate and grow as people and as performers through classes and theatrical productions. During the Spring, Ensemble members meet Saturday mornings to take part in masterclasses, scene studies, workshops, and play readings. During the Summer, Ensemble members gain experience both on and offstage, putting on their own theatrical production.
Spring Youth Musical
Building on the quarter century tradition started by Tami and Richard Davis of Tandem Productions, WYO PLAY produces a musical every spring for children aged 7-15 years old. Young people come from all around Sheridan County (and beyond) to audition to be cast in this production. Cast members build performance skills in vocal technique, movement, and character development. But most importantly, they learn to work together and stay playful.
WYO PLAY is proud to partner with local artists and educators who bring exciting artistic opportunities to life for our community. Past and planned partnerships include our collaboration with Aspen Grove Music Studio on ‘Raise Your Voice: A Broadway Jr Musical Revue’ and the upcoming camp with local author and live storyteller David Sage called ‘Stories from Scratch.’
The WYO Theater has long offered educational outreach as part of their regular Season. The outreach has included coordinating with local schools and community organizations to bring traveling artists directly to community members for intimate performances and workshops. Recent past examples of artists who have been brought out into the Sheridan community through WYO PLAY include storytellers David Gonzalez, Kuniko Yamamoto, and the musical group Nobuntu.
Middle School Drama Club Feedback
My son had a great time performing. He has played guitar and sang at a number of events precovid. I feel like the [Middle School Drama Club] performance brought him a love for theater and music and gave him a confidence boost.
My daughter considers herself “socially awkward” and “anxious” in social situations – I was thrilled when she decided to attend [WYO PLAY rehearsals], committed to doing so, and was on stage just like everyone else. Joining Middle School Drama Club was a valuable experience for her and lifted her self-confidence.
I think this experience helped my daughter build her self-confidence. She made new friends and developed relationships with peers outside her usual circle of friends. This Drama Club experience has encouraged her to pursue drama, her artsy nature and she is now an extra in [the high school musical]!
My daughter was excited to add to the performance and play with everyone else in the production. Through her minor role she was able to recognize that she can put forth her efforts, perform, and be part of a creative team while having fun in a safe and welcoming space.
My son always came home [after Drama Club rehearsal] smiling & saying it was so much fun.
I know my daughter enjoyed [the Middle School Drama Club] because she notes that she had fun by the way she talked after practice and the way she talked nonstop for days after the performance.
Creative Aging Feedback
I haven’t taken a dance class in about 25 years. [The Creative Aging instructor] explained movements in ways that made me understand them better than I have ever heard.
[I appreciated] acceptance and encouragement from the instructor, easy to follow directions, structured practice!
[I enjoyed seeing ] all the smiles of the participants during class…all having a good time!!!
It helped me to be more confident!
It was fun watching the other participants show their unique style of storytelling.
It was so inspiring to cheer on my colleagues, hear their stories and witness their growth.
Teaching Artist Feedback for Acting Out!
The students LOVED all the activities and stories! The 1-2 graders really enjoyed the follow-up art activities, while the 3-5 graders LOVED reenacting scenes, as well as the games Zip-zap-zop, Clap game, and Coyote. The highlight for me, was when a few students made the connection to the concept of “exaggeration,” which we had been learning about in Acting Out, to stories they were reading in their classroom.
They loved participating and remembered every story and concept we discussed. They were able to not only answer questions provided, but could apply concepts to other scenarios and situations they experience in their own lives.
They all LOVED the interactive storytelling component! Most students want to be heard, and the quiet ones enjoyed watching the conversation.
This [interactive storytelling] was their favorite part. They mentioned various times that they wanted to “act.” It was exciting to see them take some risks in a safe environment.