By Fine and Performing Arts Associate Artistic Director Guy Gardner
This fall launches Theatre in the Park’s inaugural production for the Blue Curtain Project, “Frida Libre!”
Beginning in September, Theatre in the Park is presenting professional theatre through a new initiative focused on educational theatre for the ever-growing young mind. This project presents plays and musicals at the performance level you've come to know and love with Theatre in the Park, while choosing stories that invite audiences to think and learn. Activities and workshops tied to current educational standards surround the performance day.
This project will hire professional actors who will perform at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center for school and local field trips, as well as take the show on the road to area schools and learning centers!
The Blue Curtain Project will feature a four Step Educational Process that includes…
Step 1: Pre-Engagement Lesson
A member of the BCP cast will visit your school a week prior to the performance to engage the audience in a state standard curated lesson that touches on the upcoming story they will see, what it means to be a great audience, and provide context for some of the exciting things they will see!
Step 2: Educational Resource Guide
Educators are given an Educational Resource Guide to use in classroom activities before, during, and after the performance. This guide includes a synopsis of the story, biographies of the cast, images of set pieces they may see during the performance, a glossary of terms useful to learn before the production, and multiple lessons that can be used after the production in any setting. All lessons are identified with the Kansas State Department of Education Standards.
Step 3: The Show!
The performance can be seen two ways – either students join us at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center for a field trip, or the show will tour to your school! Both options are set up to be easily accessible for your needs, and staff members will talk through all schematics prior to the performance day.
Step 4: Post Show Activity
Following the performance, institutions can choose between three activities provided by the Blue Curtain Project. These can either be taught by a member of the cast or given to teachers to do in individual classrooms.
The first production of the Blue Curtain Project is a musical called, “Frida Libre.” With book and lyrics by Karen Zacarias and music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, “Frida Libre” is the perfect kick-off production for the Blue Curtain Project!
The story is this - Alex may seem like a quiet, shy boy, but he secretly holds big ideas inside his head. He wants to be a luchador (wrestler) and defeat bad guys in the ring. His life changes when he meets brave and colorful Frida, an unusual girl who dreams of being a doctor so she can help people. Forced to do a science project together on butterflies and metamorphosis, the pair discovers how true friendship can help you overcome fear and transform your dreams into reality.
“Frida Libre” is inspired by the childhood of legendary Mexican Painter Frida Kahlo and was commissioned and toured originally by the La Jolla Playhouse.
JCPRD and Theatre in the Park are honored to join The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.
“Frida Libre” includes educational standards in science, art, and the history and heritage of Frida Kahlo. It’s an amazing story to be told during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.
“Frida Libre” has limited availability for performances between Sept. 25 through Oct. 20. Schools and educators are encouraged to secure their spot now for this new and exciting opportunity. More information and booking can be found at theatreinthepark.org/blue-curtain-project.