Theatre artist and educator Kathie diStefano from Rotterdam’s Avalanche Arts employs participatory techniques and theatre art to create awareness with youth and seniors about the environment through creative strategies to recycle and make smart consumer decisions. Ms. diStefano is planning to conduct several activities in Baltimore during the 2017 Spring school semester, including:
1. Operation Trash virtual exchange
“Operation Trash” project is designed to educate and connect high school students in Baltimore and the greater Rotterdam area. This virtual exchange project focuses on environmental themes. Improvisational theatre techniques and remote learning techniques will be used to teach sustainability, trash reduction, recycling, and inspire environmental stewardship. Through the use of classroom activities, improvisational theatre techniques, community events, and social media, teenagers in both cities will learn about sustainability, trash reduction, recycling and get inspired to become environment stewards for their communities. The project leverages an existing environmental educational program developed by Avalanche Arts and used in Rotterdam schools.
- Avalanche Arts, an organization based in Rotterdam (Dutch name: “Stichting Lawine”), initiated the Operation Trash Exchange and is designing the program together with the partnering schools.
- Bard High School Early College Baltimore (BHSEC Baltimore)
- Benjamin Franklin High School (BFHS)
- Both of the Baltimore high schools are being partnered with high schools in the Rotterdam region.
- Baltimore artist Bridget Parlato from Full Circuit Studio plans to work with Ms. diStefano on a professional development workshop for Baltimore teachers.
Photos from Avalanche Arts’ “Operation Trash” workshops with students in Rotterdam
Financial support has been provided by CSX, MECU Foundation, and the Netherlands chapter of the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF).
More info about the exchange’s sponsors and partners
2. Artist residency at Mann Residential School
Ms diStefano will do an artist residency at this school in spring 2017. She will direct an “Eco News Show” theatre production with the school’s children, leveraging her experience with similar productions that she has executed with students and community residents in Rotterdam. It is a way for children to learn about trash and recycling through comedy and improvisational theatre. The residency involves 2 groups of middle school students; they will write the script, act, and work on sound, lighting, and scene — they will be involved in all aspects of the production.
Mann Residential School is on Sheppard Pratt campus in Towson, a suburb of Baltimore. It is a special school for children with multiple challenges and emotional disabilities.
More information about the ongoing Baltimore-Rotterdam art/education exchange is on the exchange’s website: harbortraces.org