Secret Histories School Residencies
With summer well underway, we take a moment to reflect back on the 2020-21 school year. The year demanded massive amounts of flexibility in navigating shifts in virtual learning, hybrid schedules, and in-person cohorts. We’ve been inspired by the adaptability, resourcefulness, and dedication with which students, teachers, administrators, and PCC’s 20 innovative teaching artists responded to the circumstances, creating meaningful forums for expression, creativity, and connection in a time of isolation for NYC’s students!
Ping Chong and Company’s education team rose to the challenge, reimagining our Secret Histories theatrical storytelling residencies across 16 classrooms to match the unique circumstances of each partner school. As a result, 3rd-8th grade students at PS191, PS84, MS247, PS102Q, and PS91 worked virtually with teams of inspiring teaching artists to explore identity, culture, and sense of belonging and connection. Whether at home or in the classroom, students built bonds and collaborated to transform their stories into original visual, film, audio, and virtual theater performances.
This spring our education team piloted Ping Chong and Company’s first-ever Creative Aging program - a theatrical storytelling workshop series for older adults entitled Artful Storytelling: Our Meaningful Histories. Offered in collaboration with the NYC Educational Alliance and three senior centers on the Lower East Side, and made possible by the Catalyzing Creative Aging Seed Grant from the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the program was designed to enhance quality of life for elders 55+ through creative expression, social connectivity, and making meaning of our personal & community histories. Participants mounted a moving and meaningful live virtual performance on May 22, and the pilot’s success will be shared as a case study nationally during this July’s Creative Aging Institute hosted by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
Our education team developed two unique theatrical storytelling curricula for educators this year:
Generation YOU, was created in partnership with New 42/New Victory Theater, inspired by our production of Generation NYZ which premiered there in 2018. The resource guide, fully adaptable to virtual or in-person learning spaces, offers educators and caregivers tools for inspiring youth to develop community and unleash their powerful voices to the world! Request access to the guide HERE.
A second curriculum is in development inspired by our 2017 interdisciplinary theater production ALAXSXA | ALASKA. Created by PCC creative team members and Alaskan educators and culture bearers, in collaboration with the Lower Kuskokwim School District, the curriculum will offer social studies educators in Alaska a unique approach to studying the region’s histories through student creation of artistic expressions that acknowledge and celebrate their lived experiences as integral parts of Alaska’s evolving history.
As we grapple with recovery and re-emergence from COVID-19, we look ahead to 21-22 and ask ourselves what role we can play in meeting school and community needs for healing, expression, and reconnection, no matter the age of our students.
Through these and other Ping Chong and Company programs, we remain committed to amplifying learner voices, holding space for community building, and using the tools of arts education to work toward more justice and equity in our learning and community spaces.