Culture Club

Culture Club-Portland

“The arts are an essential part of a well-rounded education that prepares students for success in the 21st Century workforce” -U.S. Department of Education

Through the generous support of an individual donor, Portland Stage has come together with the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and Portland Ovations to create Culture Club – Portland to advance arts education in our city. Through Culture Club, we inspire students by providing regular access to quality arts, building community, and making the arts a consistent part of students’ education. Culture Club – Portland provides students in the Portland Public Schools with the opportunity to participate in Portland Stage’s Education Programs every school year.

At Portland Stage, we have developed a series of Education Programs tied to Common Core Standards that are designed to grow with students as they progress through all grade-levels. We are using these programs as the framework for our Culture Club participation.

To learn how the city of Portland is supporting Culture Club- Portland, see this article in The Forecaster.


Culture Club

  • Grades K-4: Play Me A Story School Workshops          
    Professional actor/teaching artists from Portland Stage perform a staged-reading of children’s books for the entire school.  The performance is followed by actor-lead, energetic, interactive workshops for up to 8 classrooms of students. The program is designed to improve literacy, promote teamwork, and inspire creativity through a multidimensional approach to learning.
  • Grades 5 & 6: Charles Dickens Holiday Show                                                       Portland Stage’s version of the timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitors returns to the stage! Starting with “Marley was dead to begin with,” our adaptation of this holiday classic is remarkably true to the original text, making it a great complement to classroom curriculum. With original music and sound effects and a cast that brings local children together with exceptional professional actors, this is the perfect choice for first-time theatergoers.
  • Grades 7 & 8: Directors Lab 
    In the 7th and 8th grade Directors Lab, professional artists present scenes from classic plays, with text selected to meet the needs and interests of middle school students. After the performance, students are given the opportunity to “direct” those scenes to alter the outcomes. This interactive process allows students to see how interpretation alters meaning, and requires students to decode classic texts (e.g. Shakespeare) for understanding. Click here to read about our visit to Lincoln Middle School with Romeo and Juliet.
  • Grades 9-12: Student Matinees
    All of the plays in Portland Stage’s season have 10:00am Student Matinee performances scheduled throughout the school year. Students see the same exceptional professional performances as our evening audiences. Every Student Matinee is followed by an open talkback with the actors onstage, and teachers can download our resource guide PlayNotes in advance for background articles, information on the playwright, and lesson ideas aligned with the Common Core Standards.

All of these Portland Stage Education Programs are free once a year to every student in the Portland Public Schools through support from Culture Club – Portland.  All teachers need to do is follow the links above to the appropriate program and call us to make reservations and arrange dates.

Portland Stage’s work with students at the K-5 level in the Portland Public Schools has been studied and endorsed by Education Researcher Dr. Alexander Lapidus of the University of Southern Maine as “cutting edge” innovation in the area of multi-literacy learning. To read Dr. Lapidus’s recent paper on our PLAY – In-Schools workshops, click here.

For more information on Culture Club – Portland and its partner organizations click here.