Community Arts Partner

Participant Details

Community Arts Partner Name
Rachel Atkins
Partner Type
Individual
Profile Photo
Individual Bio or
Organizational Statement
Rachel Atkins is the scriptwriter for the educational theatre company Living Voices, with whom she has twelve different multi-media shows in ongoing national touring repertory. All shows focus on issues of history and social justice, and have been seen by over 3 million audience members throughout North America at venues such as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Museum of Tolerance, Ellis Island, Seneca Falls Women’s Rights & Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Parks, and Universal Studios. A member of the ArtsWA and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Arts Partner rosters, she works as a master teaching artist in public and private schools, for several teacher professional development programs, and ACT’s Young Playwrights Program. A 3-time Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Award nominee for Outstanding Playwright/New Play, her work has been produced extensively in Seattle and around the country. Published plays: Black Like Us (Original Works Publishing): Gregory Award for Outstanding New Play, American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award nominee Baalzebub (Theatrefolk): multiple national and international youth productions Rachel holds her MA in Educational Theatre from New York University. She used to live in a château in France, where she was Director of Education for Ardeo Theatre Project.

Contact Information

First Name
Rachel
Last Name
Atkins
Address
4401 Dayton Ave N
Address 2
City
Seattle
State
WA
Zip
98103
Phone
206-355-4891

Grade Levels Preferred

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

Artistic Disciplines

Type
Theatre Integration (ELA, SS, ELL), Playwriting, Theatre of the Oppressed
Discipline
Theater

Experience

Previous School Partnerships
Selected school partnerships: Seattle Public Schools Ethnic Studies Program (Nathan Hale, Chief Sealth, Coe) Playwriting & Young Playwrights Program: Garfield, Roosevelt, Ballard, Shorewood, Lakeside, Jewish Day School Arts Impact: Kimball, Muckleshoot Tribal School, Madrona, Cascade View, Adams, Leschi Bringing Theatre into the Classroom: Foster, Thornton Creek, Beacon Hill, Roxhill, Boren K-8, Sanislo, Van Asselt, View Ridge, Arbor Heights, Concord, John Hay, Thurgood Marshall, Panther Lake
Other Trainings or Certifications
MA, Educational Theatre, New York University
Sample Lesson Description: Student / Classroom Residencies
Simple Steps to Build on Tableaux Students learn to create tableaux (frozen stage pictures) using the Elements of Tableau Checklist. Starting from the foundations of tableau and basic story structure, students collaborate in small groups through a scaffolded sequence to create a storyboard and develop their own plays. At each step, students explore plots and characters through tableau, physical action, dialogue, and transitions.  This process can be based on a known book or story, developed from research, or from open creative prompts. The goal is for students to take something they’ve learned and put it into their own words in order to communicate it to an audience.  

Developing Awareness, Empathy & Respect through Theatre

Students explore ideas, choices, and consequences around relevant social issues in the classroom, curriculum, and community through Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. By stepping into someone else’s shoes, students can develop empathy and create a better understanding of different points of view. Through scaffolded, repeatable exercises, students communicate ideas, collaborate with partners and groups, build trust, sculpt statues and tableaux, and improvise characters through role play. These exercises can be linked to Ethnic Studies, anti-bullying and social-emotional curricula, and units dealing with prejudice, discrimination, and social justice.

 

 Playwriting

Students learn and practice the essential elements of playwriting, including character, setting, dialogue, action, objectives, point of view, story structure, genre, and dramatic conflict. Working both collaboratively and independently, students develop their own voices and ideas through original short plays using guided prompts, format their writing into scripts, and have the opportunity to present their work in staged readings.

Sample Workshop Description: Teacher Professional Development
Any of the curricula above can be offered as teacher professional development or student workshops/residencies. Programs can be customized for specific settings, participants, time frames, and academic subjects or objectives. All topics are aligned with national Common Core Standards in English/Language Arts, Theatre, Social-Emotional Learning and 21st Century Skills. Many can also be applied to Social Studies, English Language Learners, Foreign Language and Ethnic Studies. Curricula can be adapted for all K-12 grade level teachers and students.

Areas of Experience and Expertise

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

Lesson Plan

Integrated Art
Cultural Art

Teaching Approach

Teaching Philosophy + Approach
My approach is based in co-intentional education: starting from where my students are and empowering them to participate in their own learning. I believe in the impact of theatre to serve and connect with hard-to-reach students, and as a learning tool for arts integration. I place strong emphasis on the development of student-driven, student-centered work.

My primary focus is arts integration, using authentic application and the transfer of knowledge and skills between & across subjects. Arts integration inherently ensures that all students have access to core content by incorporating more varied ways to teach it. The kinesthetic aspects of theatre are especially effective for English language learners. The variety of activities & engagement strategies allows individual students to participate according to their own strengths, abilities, interests and comfort level, through experiential, interpersonal, physical, verbal, visual & written learning opportunities. With so many options, the possibility for individual engagement & success increases. Essential 21st century skills are also naturally embedded within the artistic process. Through theatre, we develop & practice those habits in a brave, supportive, & hopefully fun environment.

When students become what they’re studying, they engage with and understand what they’re learning--and they don’t forget it.
Curriculum Integration Possibilities
English Language Learners Ethnic Studies Literacy/Language Arts Social Studies/History Social-Emotional Learning 21st Century Skills Foreign Languages Anti-Bullying curricula Other Arts disciplines
Special Skills and Areas of Expertise
Teacher Professional Development Curriculum Writing and Editing SPS 21st Century Arts Teaching & Assessment Project Student performances Literary adaptation
Testimonials from Schools
"Seamless. Fabulous modeling. Excellent content + useful strategies for high impact kiddos. Love it! Can't wait to teach a lesson." "Really amazing lesson/tools that hit so many learning targets! So helpful! I feel comfortable trying to incorporate what I learned." "Powerful- can imagine so many ways to use this process in class. Loved how scaffolded it was and how it works so well into research project or a book. Lands on high quality project that takes learning deeper." "So vital, so applicable to so many things! Thank you for the specific strategies to dig deeper into the stories we tell." --Bringing Theatre into the Classroom teacher professional development participants  

Fees

Fees

Images

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Arts Impact teacher professional development workshop
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Sunnycrest Elementary residency
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Sunnycrest Elementary residency
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Bringing Theatre into the Classroom teacher professional development
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Bringing Theatre into the Classroom teacher professional development

Video

Video Description
Seattle Public Theater trailer for youth theatre performance
Video Description
Video Description