Denver Center for the Performing Arts (Denver, CO)

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A woman leans on a students desk while addressing her class.  A female student's face is visible, she is smiling and looking towards a fellow student being addressed by the teacher.

Teaching artist Amy Perry and students in a class workshop on Arthur Miller's The Crucible as part of the Denver Center for the Performing Art's Living History educational program. Photo courtesy of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Founded in 1972 and dedicated to excellence in the arts, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) in Colorado is a showcase for live theater, an award-winning multimedia production facility, a national training school for actors, and the site of a voice clinic and research facility. In addition, DCPA offers various educational and outreach initiatives, including in-school programs, professional development for teachers, and distance learning.

In FY 2004, DCPA received an NEA Learning in the Arts grant of $24,000 for its Living History educational residency program. The program—a collaboration between the DCPA Education Department and the Denver Center Theatre Company, one of the resident companies at DCPA—is designed to show the value of including drama in school curricula.

Living History took place in 23 metro-area high schools during the fall semester of 2004. Three professional theater artists performed four scenes from classical and contemporary plays for the entire school. The ethical dilemmas posed by the scenes are the basis for a series of classroom workshops that utilize exercises such as Hot Seat Improvisation, in which two actors become characters with opposing views from the play, while a third artist encourages the student audience to question the characters about themselves and their society.

Living History conforms to Colorado State Standards for Reading and Writing, Theatre, and History, and enhances learning of history, language arts, social studies, and theater. More than 25,000 students participated in the program in 2004.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)