Aggregate In-School Programs
HamLit - Shakespeare & ELA Theatre Residency
In HamLit, students learn through active engagement! This residency leads students through games, activities, and discussions that aim to deepen and enliven their understanding of works of theatre and literature by evaluating material in the way a professional theatre company approaches a script. Tailored to fit each school’s specific goals, students may analyze characters through improv exercises, understand setting through drafting set designs, explore themes by creating marketing posters, explore a “table work” process to personalize stories, or apply concepts through performing scenes.
While most schools appreciate HamLit’s approach in helping students better understand Shakespeare, no English/Language Arts or Theatre class’ material is too difficult or too simple to be made more engaging by HamLit’s activities. Whether a classic Shakespeare play like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a mid-century novel like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or a new autobiography like Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, HamLit gets students thinking, speaking, and embodying material in ways that create deep connections with the stories and text. Schools can choose for an Aggregate teaching artist (typically one artist per class) to teach from a bank of existing lesson plans or work with Aggregate on developing a new lesson to address particular interests or source materials. Each HamLit lesson uses a multi-modal approach that incorporates visuals (such as humorous slides or informative graphics) with adaptable, out-of-your-seat activities (such as “space walks” to physically embody a character or opinion spectrum exercises to personalize text). Lesson activities, vocabulary, and concepts can be tailored to the grade of the students, making a HamLit residency perfect for elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Giselle la Trent the Gazellephant - School Show
Written and performed live by local, professional artists, Giselle la Trent the Gazellephant is a humorous and heartfelt 40-minute children’s musical about a girl named Giselle on her first day at a new school. Half gazelle and half elephant, Giselle is not your typical fourth-grader, and she wants nothing more than to start off on the right foot at Thomas Girafferson Elementary (things haven’t gone so well at her other schools). Well, there is one thing she wants more than anything else: to be a world famous rockstar! But when Margaret the Cat and Gore the Warthog don’t like Giselle’s rockstar dreams, they bully Giselle into competing in a rockstar showdown. The surprising results send Giselle into a spiral of fears and problems she doesn’t know how to fix. Even her teacher, Ms. Pronunciation, can’t provide the comfort she needs. Not until a visit from a wise Dalmatian named Wags inspires Giselle to accept herself for all of her wonderful uniqueness does she learn that it’s easier to be nice to others when you’re also nice to yourself.
Gazellephant encourages children to analyze conflict and relationships they see in the musical and recognize them as situations they have experienced or have seen in real life. As the characters in Gazellephant learn and grow, they exemplify actions and understanding that students can exhibit in developing greater emotional intelligence and showing empathy toward others. Also filled with funny references for teachers, Gazellephant has points of access for everyone watching, using the power of shared experience and the safety of story as a scaffolding on which counselors and other trusted adults can guide discussions about kindness and friendship. And the catchy songs that fill the show keep its life lessons in the students’ consciousness long after the performance ends. A 5-episode podcast (audio only) is also available as a virtual option.
The Midsummer Experience - School Show
The Midsummer Experience is an exciting 50-minute assembly-style performance that takes students through Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a hilarious, poignant, and informative way. More than a traditional piece of theatre, The Midsummer Experience incorporates audience volunteers and interactive educational moments as Aggregate’s troupe of seven professional actors present one of Shakespeare’s most memorable and fantastical plays.
Whether as an accessible first exposure to the world of Shakespeare or a celebratory conclusion to completing one of his plays, The Midsummer Experience is appropriate and entertaining for all middle and high school grades. In addition to performing unique and modern takes on the complete plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this show also weaves in valuable lessons on how to unlock Shakespeare’s language (no matter the play!) through illuminating topics such as: character/audience relationships in Shakespeare, how Shakespeare’s brain works (hint: he likes opposites), and why Shakespeare’s plays continue to be valuable to our modern world. This program’s high level of engagement between the actors and audience not only bring’s Shakespeare’s world to life by replicating the theatre environment from back when he was alive, but it also works to communicate complex ideas in practical and applicable ways. This show is an event!