Agora - Experiential Learning
The city of Chicago offers many opportunities for students to submerge themselves in the arts and learn about the various occupations that exist in theater. The members of Backstage Chicago will participate in hands-on activities such as an improvisational workshop. During our trips week, students will also have opportunities to explore professional stage productions and plays in Chicago.
While acting and writing plays are important elements of theater, students will also consider how members of the backstage crew develop their skills, gain experience, and operate in various work venues. Students will explore the behind-the-scene work of both the historic theater district and local storefront theaters. They will have opportunities to meet stage managers, understand how the design team works, and learn about the various jobs that exist behind the scenes. Students will also learn about some of the history that exists in Chicago film and theater. This year we will attend two Broadway musicals: My Fair Lady at the Lyric Opera and Rent at the Oriental Theater. After My Fair Lady performance, students will have an opportunity to explore the backstage of the Lyric Opera. For more information about our Agora week, please see the following links.
Students will deepen their understanding of Chicago theater and explore Chicago productions. Students will learn about various fields that are available in theater productions: stage management, artistic director, playwright, sound design, scenic design, lighting design, etc. Students will also gain a deeper understanding of some well-known and classic productions: Shakespeare in Love, My Fair Lady, Not About Nightingales, and Rent.
Amy Roberts currently teaches Creative Writing and World Literature at St Benedict Preparatory School. She earned a B.A in English from Bryn Mawr College, a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and M.Ed. from DePaul University in Curriculum Design. From its inception three years ago, Ms. Roberts has worked on the development of the Backstage Chicago Agora trip week and looks forward to opening the backstage doors, where ideas are transformed into productions.
Chris Kustusch earned his Bachelor’s degree from North Park University in Physics and Theater, before earning his MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University. He moved back to Chicago, and took a position at the Museum of Science and Industry, where he helped to develop the Science Storms exhibit. Following that, he opened Big Sci Communications, which works to help organizations communicate science. After teaching Physics at DePaul University and North Park University, he transitioned to teaching Science and Drama at St. Ben’s.