Community Arts Partner

Participant Details

Community Arts Partner Name
BAYFEST Youth Theatre / BAYFEST Education
Partner Type
Profile Photo
Individual Bio or
Organizational Statement
Our mission is to "Develop the Extraordinary Potential of Youth through Dramatic and Active Arts." Founded in 1990, BAYFEST has an extensive history offering powerful opportunities for young people, primarily ones who come from low-income and historically underserved populations and schools, to experience meaningful self- exploration through the dramatic and active arts (storytelling, personal narratives, movement, rhythm, kinesthetic learning). Over 80% of our participants over the years have been free-and reduced-lunch eligible. Our programs also provide K-12 educators with professional development sessions geared to address each school's particular concerns and give them powerful tools to transform their classrooms by integrated use of Active Arts techniques, sustain their own energy and enjoyment, and advance student success and learning. Always embedded in our work is the goal to address racial, gender and other social and educational equity disparities while building imagination, social-emotional learning and arts literacy. We make sure that our staff of teaching artists reflects the diverse populations we serve, and we always seek to partner with other organizations and artists who bring their own cultures and history to their work. Honoring and sharing students' own stories and connecting them to larger community stories and tales from many cultures remains a powerful way of working for us, and is guiding the development of all our current and planned programs.
BAYFEST has operated since 1990: in New York (7 years), Los Angeles (12 years), and Seattle (9 years),in 6 states and around the UK. Our programs have focused on building students' life skills in creative and critical thinking, communication, collaboration, perseverance and a 'growth mind-set' -- through drama, storytelling, personal narratives, movement, rhythm, kinesthetic learning. Working primarily with LMI students and the educators who work with them, we always have the embedded goals of addressing racial, gender and other social/educational equity disparities while building imagination, social-emotional learning and arts access and literacy. Since 2014 we have worked exclusively in the Puget Sound Region, and are focussed on “going deep” in a few schools, rather than “going wide” in many, reflecting our belief that extended engagements with teachers and students are more impactful than one-off or short-term workshops, and strongly desired by schools. In that time, we have offered 8 in-school student performance workshops, 9 professional developments, and 5 summer Youth Theatre Intensives. We are currently working in 3 schools for the entire 2018/19 school year with K-12 teachers and students through our “Native Tales” project (staging original student-devised versions of Northwest Indigenous tales and personal monologues of our participants), as well as drama-skills classes, student performance projects, summer youth theatre intensives, and educator professional developments on using drama and kinesthetic-learning techniques in the classroom.

Contact Information

First Name
Last Name
4050 20th Avenue SW
Address 2

Grade Levels Preferred

Grade Levels Preferred
K-2, 3rd - 5th, 6th - 8th, 9th - 12th

Artistic Disciplines

BAYFEST Youth Theatre and BAYFEST Education are two parts of our organization (focussed on students and teacher professional development, respectively) that both have the same goal:  giving students deeper and more frequent contact with Drama, Movement, Kinesthetic Learning and self-expression that will enhance the educational environment and tap into hidden skills and areas of excellence that are sometimes hidden.  Because our teaching artists are all highly experienced in working with individual teachers, schools and programs to help them meet their goals and areas of interest, we are very flexible in designing our programs, which can range from intensive 1-week residencies to months-long engagements that culminate in performances or after-school programs.  In the past several years in Seattle, we have run programs that specifically focussed on African Dance/Drumming and Rhythm, HipHop and Break Dance, developing students' Personal Narratives for performance, Staging stories from many cultures including Northwest native tales, African stories, Shakespeare, and many others.
Dance, Music, Theater, Multidisciplinary, cultural exploration, K-12 PD on using the Active Arts as curriculum enhancement in the classroom


Previous School Partnerships
We worked for many years in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Vermont and all around the United Kingdom.  In the past five years in Seattle, we have conducted student and K-12 educator professional development programs at  Chief Health High School, Maple Elementary, Gatewood Elementary, STEM K-8, Pathfinder K-8, Northshore High School, Kirkland School, along with numerous summer youth theatre intensive programs.
Other Trainings or Certifications
Our roster of Teaching artists are all high experienced and trained in a wide variety of theatre, movement and dance, and cultural expression.   They all have worked extensively with students of all ages, and are focussed on working with teachers to make each residency or after-school program meet the needs of the classroom, teacher, students and school.
Sample Lesson Description: Student / Classroom Residencies
Movement/Rhythm and Kinesthetic Learning - BAYFEST has a roster of top-quality teaching artists who work with students in a variety of movement and rhythm styles, from African Dance to HipHop and free-form movement exploration -- all with the goal of building students' confidence, physical skills and awareness, and honoring their natural desire and ability to move.  Often we will link movement and story in classroom residencies, so that students are always seeing the larger context.  We are also always trying to give teachers quick and effective ways of getting students out of their seats for brief periods during the school day -- as transitions from one activity to another, or as "brain enhancers." "Personal Narratives", Cultural and Historical explorations -- grades 3 -12.  Exercises like "Culture Capsules" to  explore and celebrate students' own stories and cultural backgrounds, often including a writing and final performance component; Living History to bring alive key Historical and Social Studies moments and ideas, often to explore difficult topics like bullying, racism and equity. STEM Curriculum enhancements: geared primarily for Elementary grades, they range from "Moving Geometry" -- teaching geometry concepts to  K-1st, "Moving Molecules" -- teaching about atoms/molecules, heat and molecular combination and motion to  3-5th, "Animal Explorations" for K-4th, to many other curriculum linked STEM exercises -- all geared to get students out of their seats and learning kinesthetically in a controlled way.  
Sample Workshop Description: Teacher Professional Development
see "Integrated Active Arts" workshop followup document

Areas of Experience and Expertise

Approved Professional Development Provider
Approved Classroom Residency Provider
Experience with English Language Learners
Experience with Students in Special Education

Teaching Approach

Teaching Philosophy + Approach
In our almost 30 year history, we have always believed that anything that makes more work for teachers and/or does not enhance their experience of their own classroom is a bad idea.  We want to help bring joy and creativity into classrooms and after school programs by introducing drama, movement and kinesthetic learning in ways that will support and enhance curriculum and get kids even more ready to learn.  We do this by partnering closely with teachers before coming into a class on what they would like the focus of the work to be -- specific curriculum tie-in, creative and active arts-engagement to give their students a different learning modality, or to address issues (like team-building, bullying, transitions between activities, etc.) The exercises, games and teaching methods we use are meant to be replicable by the teachers themselves, giving them a "tool-box" of activities that they can use after we're gone. We always de-brief with teachers after sessions, and ask them to provide an evaluation at the end.
Curriculum Integration Possibilities
STEM concepts;  History or Social Studies units around specific events or concepts like racism or gender roles; building communications and presentation skills around ELA concepts.
Special Skills and Areas of Expertise
We have worked successfully over with the widest possible variety of young people over the years -- from rich to poor, from every conceivable national and ethnic background, from advanced learners to SPED students, from engaged learners to the "troublemakers" who have come to believe that their only choice is to continue failing in school. We know that drama, movement and active arts engagement builds confidence and skills and a deep "growth mindset."  We also know the value of making sure that all the work we do with kids is perceived as "fun", so that they will continue being engaged and able to work through sometimes rigorous sessions in a joyous environment.
Testimonials from Schools
Their excellent trainings, which many teachers and administrators have highly praised, are very interactive and enjoyable, and I was thrilled to have them come back for a two-day training a few weeks ago for our staff retreat. In the feedback survey at the end of the retreat we asked staff to note what they thought the most valuable activities were, and a majority of participants noted that the BAYFEST sessions were the highlight for them, because they learned relevant instructional strategies they could easily integrate into a variety of subject areas. - Elementary Principal
I find the quality of BAYFEST's programming and their teaching artists to be outstanding, and BAYFEST has a goal of involving as many students and teachers as they can, with class tie-ins included whenever possible.- K-8 Principal
These techniques are critical for differentiation…giving kids access to difficult material. - Middle School Teacher This was Fantastic! Honestly, one of the most useful sessions I have attended. Thank You! - High School Teacher


BAYFEST's funding allows us to work with schools to "make it work", and we will often use outside funding to cover partial costs at schools that could not otherwise afford it -- our goal always is to work with students and schools with a real need for more Arts Access. Teaching artists are paid between $70 and $ depending on experience, with a .5 increment for prep time. Course fees are negotiated with each individual school and, as noted above, are flexible.


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"Funga", an original African dance and rhythm-based performance piece.
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Animal explorations in 3rd grade class
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Teacher Professional Developemnt "Spell your name with your body" exercise
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"Living Statues" exercise during High School workshop on Racism
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student-generated storytelling exercise - "boat"


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about BAYFEST 3-minute
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"Personal Narratives" culminating performance of 4-month workshop
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"Ant and Bear" and "North Wind's Fishing Weir" with Elementary and High School students