Clairemont School Partners with La Jolla Playhouse

Posted: Tuesday, October 10th 2017


By. Gary Warth - San Diego Union Tribune

October 5, 2017

Students at Sequoia Elementary School in Clairemont will help develop a La Jolla Playhouse production and get lessons from dancers and others from the theater through a new partnership this year.

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten was at the school Tuesday morning along with a playhouse official and others to announce the partnership with Sequoia, the newest Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) school in the district.

“Artists from La Jolla Playhouse will be coming to this school, working with them, and kids will actually see real artists at work,” she said.

Sequoia is the newest of five VAPA elementary schools. Families have from now until Nov. 13 to submit applications for schools outside their attendance zone, including VAPA schools, through the Neighborhood Schools and Enrollment Options Office.

Application information is available at https://www.sandiegounified.org/school-choice-application.

As part of the new partnership with La Jolla Playhouse, Sequoia Elementary students will help develop an originally play that will premiere at their school and artists from the theater will visit the campus.

The theater also will host quarterly educator roundtables with teachers, administrators, teaching artists and community members as part of its partnership with the district.

At Sequoia, La Jolla Playhouse educational programs and outreach director Steve McCormick said the theater will provide a resident teacher who will help integrate arts into the curriculum.

In the latest edition to an existing program, the theater also will work with the school in developing an original play, “Home of the Brave,” written by Lee Catlauna from Honolulu and co-commissioned with the Honolulu Theater for Youth.

“Their artistic director and I are good friends,” McCormick said. “We realized both Honolulu and San Diego have thousands of children a year who are in military families, and we don’t know about their stories,” he said.

The play is based on a number of interviews with military families and is still under development. Workshops already have been performed before students at Freese and Ocean Beach elementary schools, and next students from Sequoia will give their feedback.

“In January when we do rehearsals, Sequoia students will come, watch rehearsals at the Playhouse, ask them what they found confusing, interesting, and what they liked,” McCormick said.

“They’ll get to see behind the scenes, meet the directors, the playwright, and get to meet the designers,” he said. “They’re going to be asked their opinion on everything, from how the play looks to how it sounds.”

The play will premiere at Sequoia on Jan. 30 and then move on to other schools. It also will be performed at Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Lincoln Military Housing and at the La Jolla Playhouse itself.

As part of the agreement, McCormick said a performer from the upcoming La Jolla Playhouse original production “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” might come to the school.

“Maybe a dancer who is in that show might come in and work with a dance teacher here and talk to the students,” he said. “It might be a residency where they come in and teach some of the dances in the show.”

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