Elementary students get crash course in performing arts


Members of the WHS Jazz Band perform outside the Palladium during a lunch break

Kindergarten to fourth grade students at Washington Woods Elementary School received a crash course in the performing arts by attending a world-class venue within the community. The visit also marked the first time a school had toured and performed at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

“The day unfolded perfectly,” Washington Woods Principal Scott Williams said.

Williams said the school tried to visit a part of the community that students have not been to before. He added that the arts are an important part of the development of students, and they help keep students engaged in the classroom.

“It’s a critical part of education,” said Williams. “Students are excited about school when this is part of their school life.”

Phillip Armstrong uses costumes and props explain the techniques

During Washington Woods’ visit, students visited three different theaters and learned about the different parts of performing arts – The Palladium (sound, lighting and musical performances), The Tarkington (theater etiquette and technical elements) and The Studio Theater (props and costumes). One of the highlights of the field trip was musical performances by every student in each grade level.

“That’s an experience they won’t forget,” Williams said.

Cheri Dick, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre executive director, said actors were paid to come and make presentations to students to provide them with a better understanding of the arts, especially during a time when districts are cutting back on the arts budgets and programs.

“We want them to come back,” she explained. “We hope they realize theater’s magic and it’s really fun.”

Dick said the Center for Performing Arts has a robust junior civic program that had 11,000 children participate last year.

“We’re not training kids to go Broadway, we’re training kids to go to boardrooms and become curious about the arts,” she said. “It’s an integral part of life.”

Members of the WHS Jazz Band perform on the Palladium stage

Members of the WHS Jazz Band perform on the Palladium stage

Dick said national data shows students who are involved in the arts perform 30 to 50 points better on the SAT. She added that it also helps with collaboration, teamwork, poise, spontaneity and reacting quickly.


Know more

Anyone interested in scheduling a trip for their group to the Tarkington can contact Brent E. Marty, director of music and education, at 853-6315 or brent@civictheatre.org. Mailed requests can be made to Marty at Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, 3 Center Green, Suite 200, Carmel, IN 46032.