VETERAN BROADWAY ACTOR TAKES LITERATURE FROM “PAGE TO STAGE” FOR TEWKSBURY’S 7th GRADE
The Tewksbury Education Foundation (TEF) sponsored a three-day artist-in-residence program from January 31 to February 2 for the seventh grade at Old Turnpike School (OTS) with veteran Broadway actor Bill Bowers. Bowers, whose credits include “The Lion King” and “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” lead students through lessons in gesture – “the earliest form of storytelling” — using a variety of mime and theatrical techniques to bring literature to life.
“It’s great to use things besides your brain to think,” said Bowers. “I like to get them out of their seats and moving to tell a story. I call it ‘physical imagination.’”
During one lesson, it was clearly evident how the program directly enhanced seventh grade Language Arts curriculum by literally taking pages from the novel “Walk Two Moons,” which is currently being read by the grade, and translating them to posed scenes, or “tableaus.” The students were made to “dig deep for meaning” to find characters’ inspirations and identify emotions to perform the exercise.
“The students and I thoroughly enjoyed our three days with Bill and found his lessons to be motivating and, quite honestly, FUN,” said OTS seventh grade Language Arts teacher Cheryl Miller. “We all loved the opportunity to use our bodies and ideas cooperatively.”