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Giving Kids Their First Taste of Theater


How does a middle-school teacher interest students in the study of William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, and Rachel Carson?

Many educators get a helping hand from Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts, home to the popular Shakespeare-in-the-Schools (SITS) program. Since the 1980s, members of Pitt’s theatre arts faculty, sometimes accompanied by community actors, have traveled to regional middle and high schools, offering an engaging production of Shakespearean works designed specifically for young people.

Whether it’s a modern adaptation of one of the classics or a production highlighting Shakespeare’s most famous fights, SITS programming provides a fresh introduction to the Bard and other writers. For many students, it’s the first experience with live theater.

SITS also offers matinees for students on the Pitt campus and sessions with an acting coach for students preparing to perform Shakespeare.

In recent years, SITS has added science and ecology to its offerings. Darwin and the Kid is a fast-paced 40-minute introduction to the theories of Charles Darwin. And Lessons From the Birds is a puppet play that introduces the spirit and legacy of Rachel Carson to elementary school children.