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PCPA Theaterfest’s Outreach Tour Hits the Road

The group will perform original productions at Central Coast schools

Hitting the road this month is the PCPA Outreach Tour. Four actor interns and a stage management intern will traverse Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties from October through May with original productions produced specifically for elementary through high school students.

The first production in the tour is PCPA Theaterfest’s first outreach musical adapted by outreach director Leo Cortez from the popular children’s book, Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola.

It’s suitable for children in kindergarten through sixth grade and shows how one boy overcomes bullying by staying true to himself. Oliver has tried every sport his dad has had him try out for, but it’s no good. Either the soccer ball is too hard to kick, “because it just keeps moving,” or he’d rather work on a victory dance after catching a ground ball in baseball, “I didn’t know I had to throw it back ... but it was a good victory dance.” Instead, Oliver wants to make movies, draw and dance. Despite all the teasing he gets for not being “one of the guys,” Oliver enters a talent show. Find out if Oliver wins first prize and gains his classmates’ acceptance or is set up for more bullying.

Next in the outreach tour is another new adaptation for the stage by Leo Cortez, Reaching Out, the third book in The Circuit trilogy by Francisco Jimenez. It recounts the challenges Francisco faced in his efforts to continue his education.

When last we left him, Francisco was taking his next big journey to Santa Clara University. But his survival skills he learned as a child will be tested once again. Not only must he leave his family behind to go to college, but while there, his father abandons the family and returns to Mexico. This is Francisco’s tale of poverty, guilt, separation and self-doubt that was all transformed by academic success. Reaching Out is suitable for grades 4 through 12.

Now in its fifth year, My Life=Art, PCPA in the Schools, an interactive theater development project, continues its exploration of turning real life stories into fully staged performances. The project involves two phases. It begins with a PCPA artist who comes into the school and conducts a series of writing workshops with the students. The written work from those students is then distilled into a script and developed into a touring production by PCPA directors and actors that will be performed for the entire school in the spring of 2011.

My Life=Art is a richly rewarding and creative experience for everyone involved. Seeing their own work performed, plays an important part in the development of students’ verbal and written language skills. It’s designed for grades 5 through 12. Phase 1 will be in the fall of 2010, with phase 2 in the spring of 2011.

Click here for more information on PCPA education and outreach tour and other activities. To book an Outreach Tour performance, call 805.928.7731 x4108.

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