Coming to you from among the fairy fold in Edinburgh
The Broads interview Lorrie Oshatz and Theresa Amy of Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre. It’s a Los Angeles based theater company that’s been providing arts education services, early literacy programming and theatrical performances throughout Southern California for 20 years. Lorrie and Theresa work with children and parents from local schools to build important social and communication skills they can use throughout their lives. Their programs introduce low income children, many of whom have never been read to before, to interactive story theatre based on quality children’s books. This helps children develop a love for literature and improves literacy.
Lorrie and Amy work also present workshops for parents. They’ve found that parents in low income brackets are unaware of what’s necessary to help their children in school because they haven’t had a proper education themselves. The workshops help them learn how to converse with their kids to build a connection. The beauty of reading books to children is that they can ask questions that create a back and forth conversation. For some parents, the program is also their first introduction to theatrical performance.
Both ladies go in depth about how the parent program works in the podcast and it’s very cool. – Listen in by clicking the player at the top of this post.
Why kids and teachers benefit from Story Theatre
Invariably a kid who’s considered to be a “problem child” or can’t sit still, does very well in the program because he or she is a kinetic learner. Shy kids come out of their shell when they are given the opportunity to be on stage in front of their peers.
Lorrie and Amy do a theatrical presentation first and then go into the classroom to work with one of the stories they’ve performed. Afterwards, the kids act it out. For many kids, English is their second language and they’ve never stood in front of have the capacity to succeed.
Many teachers do not have a theater background and are intimidated by it. The program shows them in a simple way how they can use it as a tool to teach history, science, math, etc.
Doing is more effective than just sitting at a desk and writing or listening.
The classroom programs are not about inspiring kids to become actors. They’re about instilling confidence, and allowing kids to be who they really are in front of other people.
Both Lorrie and Theresa have extensive backgrounds in theater
Lorrie became involved in theater when she was in high school and never stopped. After having 3 children, she and a friend were looking for a children’s theater experience. There wasn’t much happening nearby, so they decided to put on their own show. Both women worked together for 9 months until her friend quit to pursue dancing. She found another partner who worked with her for several more years but also left to continue her education. She still works with the company designing sets and costumes.
Friends of Lorrie suggested that she meet Theresa, who also had a background in theater and was moving from Chicago to LA. She was a good fit and both have been working together for the last 13 years.
Theresa loves Caps for Sale because her father used to read it to her when she was a kid. She also likes books by Eric Carle. She prefers colorful books and books with flaps.
Lorrie also like Eric Carle and loves books by Audrey and Donald Wood such as The Napping House, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear, Weird Parents. Another story they use, A Cat and a Dog by Claire Masurel – is about how people should get along no matter what their differences are.
Most good children’s books teach great lessons.
If you’re a Grandparent
Read to your grandchildren when you can. (Even older kids love to be read to)
Funding Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre
Lorrie and Amy are in a constant process of grant writing and looking for other sources of funding. They’ve received money from several county supervisors that’s allowed them to do programs in their districts. They’ve also received funds from the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Arts Commission.
Giving Tuesday – December 1, 2015
Giving Tuesday is a program that helps fund a plethora of worthy projects. Please visit www.crowdrise.com and look for the Read Me A Story program. Your donation will help fund Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre.
Flights of Fantasy Story Theatre’s website is at www.flightsoffantasy.org
Contact Lorrie and Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org