From October 2010 through March 2012, we performed American Tapestry for nearly every 5th and 8th grade public school student in Lawrence, Massachusetts--bringing the total number of students in Lawrence who have seen American Tapestry at the Lawrence Heritage State Park Visitors' Center--and toured the museum dedicated to the Bread & Roses Strike--to 2,250....and counting! To read what Lawrence is saying about American Tapestry, go to: www.eagletribune.com/local/x1293921456/Historical-drama-teaches-fifth-graders-about-1912-strike American Tapestry is looking to begin its 3rd year in residence at the Lawrence Heritage State park in late October 2012.
More press and praise....
The members of this audience for the new historical drama [by Theatre Espresso] understand right away they will not be passive spectators behind an invisible fourth wall. They will hold serious responsibilities to debate law and morality, to question public officials and to make decisions vital to the future of their society.
"Habeas Theatre," Jonathan Shandell
American Theatre Magazine, May 2004
"Once again I appreciate the work you and Theatre Espresso do tremendously. It exposes students to a reality they would not have learned about. Also the way in which you structure the performances, although challenging for my students at times, gave us an opportunity to talk about 'flashbacks', the "present" and the past. All the teachers found your work inspiring. We've already begun brainstorming about doing this again next year and possibly planning an entire unit around the play you might offer...To prepare students for the play, I collected a series of pictures [of mill workers] that I projected. Students shared everything they noticed and things they wondered about, which set up a good tone for discussing the content of the play.
Ana Vaisenstein, Social Studies Teacher
Blackstone School, Boston (November 2010 performance at the John Adams Courthouse)
"It touched my heart to see those kids be brave. And it shook my heart to see how they were treated for no reason."
A 7th grade student at Dorchester Collegiate Academy, BPS, in response to The Nine Who Dared: Crisis In Little Rock
Thanks again for the wonderful performance. Using your study guide, I had my students become some of the characters and act out a little skit regarding the Boston Massacre the day before we were to attend the play. At the performance I noticed my students really related to whichever character they had played. It gave them a deeper connection to the theater experience. They also became involved in a very lively discussion back at school as to whether or not there had been enough evidence to convict Captain Preston. I was amazed at how seriously they took to heart the responsibility of being a juror, and they were very interested in the perspective of not declaring someone guilty due to lack of sufficient evidence.
Anne Patrick, 5th Grade Teacher, Dennis C. Haley Elementary School, Roslindale
The show and the actors' interactions engaged the kids. Having the kids witness the art of debate was fascinating to watch! We very much appreciate the opportunity to see a great performance. One student of mine who is autistic felt comfortable enough to raise his hand twice and ask questions---something he rarely does at school. A huge step!
Jill Potsaid, 5th Grade Teacher, The Elihu Greenwood Elementary School, Hyde Park
Our diverse audience for Uprising on King Street consisted of fifth-grade classes from two Boston elementary schools, the Perkins School in South Boston and the Dever School in Dorchester. The ninety students who attended were rapt with attention throughout the play. They laughed at the thick British accents and stilted manners that the actors used to bring some levity to their rapid-fire rendering of the historical events leading up to the "Massacre". They watched and listened closely as the various witnesses for the prosecution and defense gave their opposing accounts of what they had seen and heard on the night of March 5, 1770. They were eager to participate in the ensuing discussions with the actors and with me. Every time there was a pause, a dozen hands shot into the air to ask another question. It was clear from the students' questions and comments that they understood not only the historical events and the mechanics of the trial, but the strengths and weaknesses in the case presented by each side and the roles of the prosecution and defense attorneys in trying to get at the truth.
"Another Kind of Continuing Legal Education," A.W. "Chip" Phinney
Boston Bar Journal, September/October 2007