Open Hand Theater designs creative arts education projects that integrate performance, music, puppetry and visual arts into classroom studies. As working artists and performers we focus on the character, the story, the tune and the little details that make learning relevant to children.
At Open Hand Theater we strive to introduce children to experiences in the arts that are relevant to their lives and their learning. In cooperation with the classroom teacher, Open Hand Theater designs creative theater projects that enhance and integrate Common Core Curriculum Standards and community awareness into each program. These extended learning programs have ranged from a week-long Circus Arts program through Physical Education classes to a three month Social Studies program with 3rd grade or 4th grade classes creating a unique large puppet performance. The listings below are examples.
To design an In-Class Arts Education Project for your school, please contact Caitlin Friedberg at
World Studies Integration: Folk Stories
This program is targeted at 3rd grade classes where the students work together on narrative, dialogue, music and movement to create a production of a known story with Open Hand Theater’s larger than life puppets. This residency offers an in-depth exploration of the characters, the music and the settings that bring folk stories to life as they have been told from culture to culture.
Puppetry Playwriting Project: Creative Writing
Students from grades 3-8 write their own plays, participating in character and scene development workshops, improvisation and collaborative editing. Open Hand Theater has developed this project with author Bruce Coville and educators from schools across the region. The project has given students an opportunity to imagine and write from their own experiences, to collaborate with each other on creative ideas, and to experience aspects of production for puppets and stage.
Mask Making and Characters: Theater Arts
Students in any grade level create their own paper mache masks of the characters from chosen stories in an extended art project. Finished masks are then used in readers’ theater presentations enacting each story. This residency presents an integrated introduction to mask traditions from around the world.