For Elementary Schools
“Jon and Godeliève have worked in my classroom for the past two years. Their work with my students has been exceptional. They are patient, enthusiastic, prepared and dedicated to the work. Each year they have helped my students to incorporate the dramatic arts into our classwork. I know students looked forward to every visit and it left them more engaged and eager for the rest of our day.” - Margaret Betts, 1st grade teacher, Maple School, Easthampton MA
We believe participation in the performing arts enlarges young people’s repertoire as learners, team members and leaders. We work with teachers and administrators to custom-fit our programs to complement what’s happening in the classroom. All residencies are adjustable in length and numbers of participants. Funding has come from schools/PTO’s, local cultural council grants, the Mass Cultural Council STARS program, the Community Foundation of Western MA, Mass Humanities and other sources. New England residencies outside of MA are eligible for NEST funds from the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Dexter and the Dinosaurs
Developed in collaboration with Deerfield’s Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, the performance is inspired by the life of Greenfield’s Dexter Marsh who discovered dinosaur tracks before the word dinosaur had been invented in 1835 while laying the sidewalk outside Greenfield’s Town Hall. Mr. Marsh subsequently led a distinguished dual life as a man of all trades and collector of fossils up and down the Connecticut River, eventually establishing one of the world’s first “dinosaur museums” in Greenfield. Students take turns playing Dexter and the people and beings from his world – Edward and Orra White Hitchcock, Dr. James Deane, students from a local school, animals along the Connecticut River, townspeople, and of course . . . dinosaurs.
Rehearsal track from Dexter and the Dinosaurs, “Giant Birds of Greenfield” by Mirin/Ferguson
The Bald Eagle Story
Created in 2016 in response to a teacher’s request for a new musical theatre performance about endangered species, the Bald Eagle Story synthesizes 50 years of American natural history through the lens of the bald eagle’s decline and dramatic recovery. This residency fits very well with the new Massachusetts science standards by tracking the real evolution of biologists and conservationists work to determine the cause of and remedy for the population decline between the 1940′s and 1970′s. “The show was great! I love the songs and the way all the kids were involved in the whole play in multiple roles/parts. The food chain song and the way the kids acted out the parts was great. Thank you so much for all your work.”
- Mary Sumner, Heath Elementary School PTP on “The Bald Eagle Story”
The Time Capsule: A Musical History of Massachusetts
“. . . the improvement in the students’ performance skills was outstanding! They projected their voices strongly and with great expression. They dove into their characters and made them come alive for the audience. It was a wonderful experience for our students . . .” – Amy Looman, Principal, Colrain Central School Read More
Inspired by the removal of the time capsule underneath the MA State House under former Governor Deval Patrick, this musical contains songs and scenes about the Mohawk Trail, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere and more. As with all of our residencies, we can create new material based on teacher requests.
History of Your (Mill) Town
During our successful residency/performance “Mill, Mountain, River: A Child’s Eye View of Olde Coleraine” in Colrain, MA, we developed a dramatic framework and songs that can be adapted to the history of any mill town. We will also create new scenes based on your local history. Learn more by clicking here. Yes, if your town did not have mills, we can still create a show based on local history.
To Bee or Not to Bee
During this residency, students are incorporated into our internationally acclaimed touring production “To Bee or Not to Bee” as bees, farmhands, and townspeople. They sing, dance and act alongside Piti’s professional actors while getting a deeper understanding of bees, pollination and the challenges bees are facing in the age of industrial agriculture. This residency can be expanded into a “Bee Week” involving the whole community, opening up the possibility for bee-keeper visits, planting bee gardens, etc. Learn more about “To Bee or Not to Bee” by clicking here.
This is Your Rock
“This is Your Rock” was designed specifically for residencies in elementary schools in response to a 2013 request from 3rd grade teachers for a show about rocks, minerals and geology. Students learn singing and dancing skills while deepening their understanding of the life science curriculum. The show is inspired by the 1950′s television show “This is Your Life” and features a television host interviewing Jeff the Rock about his mysterious past punctuated by musical numbers.
Poetry in Motion
This residency combines poems written by students, small groups and classes with movement. Students learn how words suggest movement and vice-versa – they also learn to write inspired by watching their classmates’ choreography. Developed with the support of the Easthampton Learning Foundation, “Poetry in Motion” has culminated with the production of a DVD for each student to take home be shown on “All School Theme Night” at the end of the year at Maple Elementary in Easthampton.
The River Plays
Piti Theatre’s first plays designed for the participation of large groups of children and commissioned by the Deerfield River Watershed Association in 2009 and 2010 for Riverfest in Shelburne Falls. Both productions explore the history of the Connecticut River Watershed through stories, acting and song.
Salmon Falls scenes + songs include: dinosaurs, salmon swimming upstream, Pocumtuck and Mohawk peace agreement, building a bridge, the Deerfield River Watershed agreement.
Time Flood scenes + songs include: stocking rainbow trout, Northampton silk mills, migration of paleo-americans, the Big Bang.
Go with the Flow
Combining dance, music and poetry, Go with the Flow was commissioned in 2012 by the Deerfield River Watershed Association. It celebrates the Deerfield River (but can adapted to any river) through a series of simple to moderately complex dance pieces perfect for young people and adults who love to move.
Other school residencies include:
- Clowning/Comic Performance
- Dance (Modern, Ballet)
- Soapstone carving
- Storytelling/Solo Performance
- Playwriting & Screenwriting
- Writing Funny
- Writing the 10 Minute Play
Where We’ve Offered Programming:
Alice B. Beal Magnet School, Springfield MA
Brightwood Elementary, Springfield MA
Buckland Shelburne Elementary, MA
Colrain Central School, MA
Crescent Park Elementary, ME
Guilford Central School, VT
R.K. Finn Ryan Road Elementary School, Florence MA
Sanderson Academy, Ashfield MA
Jackson Street School, Northampton, MA
Mary Walsh Elementary, Springfield MA
Brattleboro Area Middle School, VT
Greenfield Middle School, MA
Austine School for the Deaf, Brattleboro, VT
Boston Arts Academy, MA
Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Shelburne, MA
Blazing Star Herbal School, Ashfield, MA
Harvard Business School, Cambridge MA
Karen’s Dance Studio, Greenfield, MA
Northampton Center for the Arts, MA
New York University Stern School of Management, NYC
THANK YOU RESIDENCY FUNDERS!
Art Angels of Western MA
Community Foundation of Western MA
Greenfield Education Foundation
Easthampton Learning Foundation
Local Cultural Councils
Massachusetts Cultural Council, STARS Program
New England Foundation for the Arts: New England States Touring Program