Theatre Network ~ live at The Roxy Student Matinee Program

The Cause

As we begin to look forward past our 40th anniversary Theatre Network is looking to expand our educational program. At this time we work closely with schools both in Edmonton and surrounding areas to present student matinees for high school students. Primarily we attract English and Drama programs, grades ten through twelve. In the 2014/2015 Theatre Network season we anticipate a minimum of 300 students and 15 chaperones to attend our student matinee performances.

We work closely with high school teachers to create a strong educational experience for their students. The teachers are provided with complementary tickets to see the play in advance and a copy of the script. Many teachers have their students read the script in advance and provide assignments based on the script. In some cases our Artistic Director, Bradley Moss, will visit the engaged school to discuss in the classroom setting. This kind of work makes the students’ learning experience richer.

We provide an open dialogue between the teachers and ourselves to answer any questions and provide an inside look at the plays. Following each student matinee there is a talkback with the director, cast and if available, the playwright. It is in these talkbacks that it is clear how important our educational program is. Students are given the opportunity to ask insightful questions about the process, industry and issues discussed in the play. This is when the classroom education comes to life: the students are openly discussing with the play’s creators. A classroom setting cannot provide this type of learning experience.

Who Will it Benefit?

Theatre Network’s educational program creates a learning environment that cannot be replicated in a classroom setting. Through connecting with local high school teachers including Noel Taylor from WP Wagner and Fiona Williams from Archbishop MacDonald it is clear that our educational program aligns with their classroom curriculum. Their students are able to break down the script and analyze it in the classroom, then see it on stage in a professional setting. Following the performance the students have the opportunity to openly discuss with professionals: something that is not available with novels and movies.

The students, who attend the matinees, are at a point in their lives where they need to make important post-secondary decisions and the talkbacks allow them to ask professionals about their experience. We find that there are a number of students in the audience who are interested to know about post secondary experience. Our talkbacks allow a candid and open environment for this type of discussion.