Teachers Bring Arts Alive With Touring Aboriginal Play
Theatre production a catalyst for Arts education in 33 North Ontario communities.
For Immediate Release – October 2010
Toronto, ON – A play about two Aboriginal children that challenges cultural stereotypes is set to ignite imaginations—and the arts—in classrooms across Northern Ontario this fall. That’s the goal of a 33-community tour of Roseneath Theatre’s production of Spirit Horse organized by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA).
Spirit Horse will be performed for Grades 3 to 8 students attending over 160 Catholic and public schools in communities throughout the north. A minimum of 40 teachers in each of 16 public and Catholic boards will also receive 10 hours of hands-on professional development (PD) provided by specially trained arts leaders from ETFO and OECTA locals. The Ontario Ministry of Education has funded this project, the first joint initiative ever undertaken by the two teacher affiliates.
“Along with raising issues of cultural pride and identity, the professional development piece provides teachers with the tools to make drama, dance, music and visual arts come alive in the classroom,” says ETFO President Sam Hammond. “The Spirit Horse initiative supports the new arts curriculum released by the Ministry of Education last year.”
Spirit Horse is a powerful adventure about the challenges faced by two Aboriginal children whose family is caught between the traditional ways and contemporary urban culture. The cast, including a live musician and three actors who play over 65 characters, are all of First Nations descent. Canada’s Roseneath Theatre commissioned celebrated Ojibway playwright Drew Hayden Taylor to do an adaptation of the internationally acclaimed British play Tir Na N’Og written and directed by British Olivier Award winner Greg Banks. Banks accepted Roseneath Theatre’s invitation to direct Spirit Horse.
“For many children living in remote communities, this may be their first opportunity to experience a live professional theatre production,” says OECTA President James Ryan. “For teachers, this northern project offers a rich opportunity to teach the arts, address issues of social justice and help meet educational, social and emotional needs of students.”
More information on Spirit Horse and its tour dates can be found at www.spirithorse.ca, a website where students can also post drawings, poems and stories arising from the play. The play will tour from October 20 through December 10, 2010.
ETFO represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province. OECTA represents 45,000 women and men who teach all Grades in Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools.
For more information contact:
Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO)
Office: 1-888-838-3836 x2331
Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association