Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts’ (CCTA) Outreach Programs are designed to make theatre arts available and accessible to the neediest students in our region. They include programs for students in the Baltimore City Public School System, as well as Special Needs Youth in Central Maryland.
Bright Lights on Broadway
This innovative program helps children with communication disorders and social skills needs to improve their communication abilities through musical theater! Fun, creative games and exercises help students learn to use their bodies and voices to convey emotion, using intelligible speech and varying pitch. The program is led by experienced musical theater instructors in consultation with professionals in speech-language pathology.
Each session culminates in a final performance for friends and family!
Baltimore City Public Schools
CCTA’s Theatre Outreach for youth in the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) has provided free Performances, Afterschool Classes, and a Performing Arts Camp for over 25,000 students since its creation in 2004. Each component is designed to build confidence and encourage creative thinking with curriculum-based programs that open young eyes to endless possibilities!
CCTA’s original play, Most Valuable Player, is being introduced as part of a brand new residency this year. We hope to inspire thousands of Baltimore City students with its message of ambition, integrity, and self-assurance. It tells the story of Jackie Robinson, an award-winning baseball player who rose from poor beginnings in Georgia to become the first African American to play in the major leagues in the modern era. Each performance lasts approximately one hour, and is followed by a question-and-answer session with the cast. Bus transportation is provided for attending schools, along with a classroom set of Jackie and Me paperbacks and a lesson plan to incorporate residency concepts into the school curriculum.
After School Outreach
In 2006, CCTA brought its robust, multi-faceted curriculum directly to city schools with free After School Theatre Classes. This exceptional program serves the whole student with a melding of academic, cultural and social enhancements. Now operating in three BCPSS schools, it reaches 50-55 students per year who attend approximately 20 one-hour sessions annually. Every spring, these young actors attend a professional production at a local theater, followed by their own performance for friends and family. Each component teaches leadership, team spirit, a passion for learning, and a love of arts.
Performing Arts Camp
The CCTA Performing Arts Camp Baltimore began in summer 2010, the brainchild of CCTA staff members who saw that, for many city students, the arts ended at the conclusion of the school year. The camp offers a two week intensive of workshops, rehearsals, and performances for up to 30 students in grades 3 – 8. It runs in partnership with host school John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle, which partners with CCTA to provide space for the program, the salary for one instructor, daily lunch for the students, and bus transportation to both the dress rehearsal and culminating performance.
Outreach to Special Needs Youth
Expanding Horizons: Broadway Kids & Teens was created in 2009 by CCTA and the Loyola University Maryland’s Clinical Center to serve youth and teens ages 11 – 19 with disorders of social communication, including Down Syndrome, Autism, and Autism Spectrum disorders, among others. The goal of the program is to assist participants in furthering their social communication skills within the context of a musical theatre program, enlisting the support of specialists in speech pathology, special education, music and theatre. Peer volunteers participate as fellow actors, modeling behaviors and interactions for participants. In 2010, Expanding Horizons expanded to include a third partner, the Howard County Public School System, working with special needs teens in the county’s high schools under a grant from The Horizon Foundation. For spring 2016, look for Expanding Horizons program sites at Glenelg High School (Glenelg, MD), Mount Hebron High School (Elliott City, MD) and a Saturday afternoon class at St. John’s Parish Day School (Ellicott City, MD.)