Drama in the Schools

During our flagship program, experienced teaching artists partner with classroom teachers to lead students through sessions that encourage them to find and use their voices.

“I was able to tell a story that needed to be told and get my emotions out.” —Student, Lincoln Park HS

“My classroom would not be the same without the Victory Gardens residency.” —Teacher, Simeon Career Academy

“Not every student in the class will become a writer, but the playwriting unit allows them to reflect on what they want to share with the world.” —Teacher, Kenwood Academy High School

Drama in the Schools offers three focused units:

Storytelling (Spoken Word) — students are taught to access their emotions and use their voices through first person stories. During this writing and performance unit, classmates share their experiences and find a commonality that helps them become more comfortable opening up in front of a group. Each student adapts their personal monologue into a slam poem, with the goal of participating in the youth poetry festival Louder Than a Bomb.

Character (August Wilson) — while immersed in August Wilson’s 10-play century cycle, students learn to connect to and express honest emotions through the words of the playwright. In addition to exploring character in preparation for the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition, the unit includes a research component with students completing dramaturgical investigations to better understand the decade in which their monologue takes place.

Playwriting (Our Flagship) — Victory Gardens is dedicated to the development of playwrights and new plays, making this component a natural extension of our work. Small groups create 5-10 minute plays by relying on their personal experiences and concerns to generate themes and plots for their pieces. The session culminates with either a staged reading by professional actors in the classroom or a shared showcase with other schools participating in the Drama in the Schools program.


All three units can be adapted based on curriculum and time constraints. Years of experience has shown our program is most successful when the residency covers multiple units throughout the school year, creating continuity with the students, and a solid partnership between the teacher and teaching artist.

Participation in Drama in the Schools includes tickets to the Scholarship Subscription Series student matinee performances in the fall and spring.

Partnership Expectations

The Drama in the Schools program is a partnership between the school (administration, teacher and students) and Victory Gardens. Prior to each residency, a Partner Agreement must be signed by a school administrator and the classroom teacher.

School Administrator/Classroom Teacher will:

  • Provide space for theater exercises, games, and performances.
  • Assist with the distribution and collection of handouts and assessments.
  • Ensure students complete handouts and evaluations.
  • Complete online teacher evaluations.
  • Provide class time for the students to work on their projects between residency visits.
  • Secure buses for the Scholarship Subscription Series matinees.
  • Provide final Scholarship Subscription Series seat numbers by 4 weeks prior to the performance date.

Victory Gardens/Teaching Artist will:

  • Engage the students.
  • Collaborate with the classroom teacher to ensure the program remains relevant to the curriculum.
  • Oversee group work by the students.
  • Collect student generated materials (e.g. spoken word pieces and scripts).
  • Represent Victory Gardens with artistry, integrity and professionalism.

These requirements should ensure that the students, teachers, and teaching artists get the most out of the program.

For more information, or to bring Drama in the Schools to your campus, contact:

Roxanna Conner
Director of Education
rconner@victorygardens.org
773.328.2134

Partner Schools

  • Alcott College Prep
  • Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School
  • Harlan Community Academy High School
  • Kenwood Academy High School
  • Lincoln Park High School
  • Oscar Mayer Magnet School
  • Prosser Career Academy High School
  • Senn Arts
  • Simeon Career Academy High School

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