Apr 30, 2012

Journey Into Theatre Tours at the FAC

FAC docents make exploring the arts an interactive adventure! 
Most field trips to the FAC involve tours of the museum, but the docents are required to learn about the history and programs of the FAC, which include theatre as well.

Wendy Gray, former FAC Docent president and committee chair for Off the Wall loves the Journey Into Theatre Tours because students get to combine and compares the components of visual arts and drama. Students view paintings and sculptures to inspire the imagination, and then participate in improvisational drama games based on what they see and feel.

“It’s a rewarding way to combine the visual arts with the theatre arts, and actually, we cover a lot of the school standards, so it fulfills the state requirements in a completely unforgettable way,” says Gray.

Students bring art to life with characters and stories as they learn techniques of storytelling, movement, voice and characterization. The tour includes a visit to the FAC’s SaGJi Theatre. A 90 min. to 2 hr. tour, depending on age. Docents customize the tour to tie the experience to what's happening at the FAC and what teachers are covering in their classrooms.

For example, several years ago the docents offered a makeup tour to complement an upcoming production of CATS. Each of the students got to make up their faces like characters from the musical. Sometimes the tours go backstage to explore the costume shop and to meet the technical staff who manage the theatre, the scene shop, the lighting board. Teachers report back that students learned more about art with this type of interactive, creative approach than with traditional museum tours.

"This tour is special," says Gray. "It’s interactive—we use ekphrastic techniques to interpret art, depending on the type of art."

Ekphrasis is a Greek word which means "description" and is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Poets, playwrights, and choreographers all use the technique to interpret other forms of art for their audiences. Gray explains that ephrasis is what makes the tours so engaging and fun.

Busloads of kids arrive each month to explore art at the FAC
"We find inspiring characterizations, stories, and create movement inspired by the art. Students develop their own scenes. They want to get involved, participate, and create. They love it!"

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