Student educational programming

Cello students on stage behind professional cellistsThe Midwest Theater has another exciting year of performing arts and film-based educational events for the 2019/2020 school year. For performing arts, we have 10 matinee programs and 16 outreach performances/workshops (plus one for teachers!), covering dance, several genres of music, theatre, storytelling, puppetry and movement. For film, we have 3 science-based film-and-panel-discussion matinee programs and up to 3 screenings of Spanish-language short films. These educational events are all FREE for area students.

Registrations are OPEN as of August 30, 2019, and will remain open until filled. We sent out the schedule and target grade ranges to all the educators on our contact list. If you did not get an email but would like to get the information about registering your students for this programming, or if you would like to register your students, contact Office Manager Krista Baird at 308-632-4311 or

Registration is offered on a first-come, first served basis. We are happy to provide accommodations for students with special needs – please request accommodations such as wheelchair access or amplification devices at the time of registration.

Please also note that the Nebraska Arts Council has School Bus for the Arts grants available to help pay for transportation.

2019/2020 Midwest Theater Performing Arts Season
Arts Education Opportunities


Terrance Simien
“Creole for Kidz” performance     Grades: 3-6 Student Study Guide Available
Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at Midwest Theater 
One in-school workshop also available for this artist – see below.
Performance description:  Terrance’s educational outreach is varied. In a school, classroom or library setting Terrance goes one on one with the students. A virtual Who, What, When, Where and Why of his people: the black and mixed race French speaking Louisiana Creoles and their unique zydeco music – which is one of the most internationally known and loved American roots music traditions in the world! He travels light to your school, bringing the tools of his trade: several rubboards, an accordion, a Creole flag, a couple of band mates and for extra inspiration -a GRAMMY award! We’re really happy he has two though: allowing one to sit at home and look pretty and the other to go on tour for all of his audiences to enjoy! Simien speaks a little French to his student audience, shows them the official Creole flag and explains its meaning. There will be call and response and hands on with the rubboards! He will talk about those core instruments of zydeco: the zydeco rubboard or frottroir, and the button accordion, and how they originated in Louisiana. He reminds his students that Disney’s Princess and the Frog film features zydeco – and that he actually contributed to the soundtrack! Yep, there are also colorful Mardi Gras beads involved!

Missoula Children’s Theater: THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
Matinee performance    Grades: K – 8
Morning, Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at Midwest Theater
AFTERNOON EVENT FILLED – REGISTRATION CLOSED AS OF 10/1/19 Afternoon, Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at Midwest Theater
This play is led by professional actors/instructors and performed by local student actors. Please let your students know that auditions will be Mon, Nov. 18 at 4:00 p.m. at the Midwest Theater.
Up to three in-school acting workshops also available with the MCT instructors – see below.
Play description: “Dress for success” is good advice that the Emperor takes whole-heartedly, wanting to impress new friends. But where to stop? When the clothes (and other people’s opinions) become more important than the people of the kingdom, trouble brews. To help their beloved Emperor find the way back to his heart, his true friends create an elaborate “birthday suit” for the Emperor to wear for his birthday parade celebration. The Emperor quickly and humbly learns that sometimes “less is more”!

An Irish Christmas
Dec 17, 2019
One in-school storytelling program is available with this artist – see below.

Fry Street Quartet
Matinee performance    Grades: 3-6
Tues, Jan 14, 2020 at Midwest Theater
Artist description: This remarkable quartet-hailed as “a triumph of ensemble playing” by the New York Times is a multi-faceted ensemble taking chamber music in new directions. Touring music of the masters as well as exciting original works from visionary composers of our time, the Fry Street Quartet has perfected a “blend of technical precision and scorching spontaneity”. The quartet has reached audiences from Carnegie Hall to London, and Sarajevo to Jerusalem, exploring the medium of the string quartet and its life-affirming potential with “profound understanding…depth of expression, and stunning technical astuteness” (Deseret Morning News).

Missoula Children’s Theater: BEAUTY LOU AND THE COUNTRY BEAST
Matinee performance    Grades: K – 8
Morning, Fri, Feb 7, 2020 at Midwest Theater
Afternoon, Fri, Feb 7, 2020 at Midwest Theater
This play is led by professional actors/instructors and performed by local student actors. Please let your students know that auditions will be Mon, Feb. 3 at 4:00 p.m. at the Midwest Theater.
Up to three in-school acting workshops also available with the MCT instructors – see below.
Play description: Beauty Lou and the Country Beast, is an original country western adaptation of the classic fairy tale Beauty Lou and the Beast. Beauty Lou is the oldest daughter of the bronc-bustin’ balladeer Buck. At the local county fair, young Beauty Lou is upset by the ungrateful behavior of a miner who has won the blue ribbon for his beautiful roses. She calls him a beast and wishes that he would look like one too. Years later, when in danger of losing the family farm, Buck meets the miner-turned-beast. Beauty Lou agrees to befriend the Beast to save her family. Beauty Lou and the Beast both learn to look beyond appearances and first impressions and to see the beauty that dwells inside. The story, set in the American West, also features Beauty Lou’s six sisters, her Imaginary Friend, her dog Fleabite Clyde, farmhands Slim and Dusty, the neighborly Country Folk and the Barnyard Critters.

matinee performance    Grades: 2 – 6
Tues, Feb 11, 2020 at Midwest Theater
Artist description: For the last 31 years, THE PEKING ACROBATS® have redefined audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs and display their technical prowess at such arts as trick-cycling, precision tumbling, juggling, somersaulting, and gymnastics. They push the limits of human ability, defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility, and control. THE PEKING ACROBATS are often accompanied by live musicians who skillfully play traditional Chinese instruments; the time-honored Chinese music coalesces with high-tech special effects and awe-inspiring acrobatic feats, creating an exuberant entertainment event with the festive pageantry of a Chinese carnival.

EVENT FILLED – REGISTRATION CLOSED AS OF 9/5/19 Lightwire Theater: Dino Light
Matinee performance    Grades: 2-5  Student Study Guide Available
Mon, March 9, 2020 at Midwest Theater
Play description: Dino-Light formerly known as Darwin the Dinosaur, was the recipient of the prestigious Jim Henson Foundation Grant and first feature-length theatrical production created and performed by creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp. In this original storyline, a famous scientist with magic powers brings a friendly dinosaur to life. When the dinosaur wanders away from home, he discovers a wonderful world full of creatures that light up the darkness and help him find the true meaning of love. This glow-in-the-dark adventure is visually amazing and has been praised for its cutting edge blend of puppetry, technology and dance by audiences all over the world.

April Verch Band  
Matinee performance    Grades: 3 – 8
Thurs, April 30, 2020 at Midwest Theater
Four in-school workshops also available for this artist – see below.
Artist Description: While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch tours with world- class musicians as a trio, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch’s vocals, fiddle and foot percussion. One might suspect a performer with as many talents as Verch would pause to take a breath, or need to somewhat compartmentalize her skills during a live performance. But on stage, Verch is almost superhuman, flawlessly intertwining and overlapping different performative elements. She stepdances while fiddling.  She sings while stepdancing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.

Repertory Dance Theater 
“Voyage” student performance     Grades: 3-6 Student Study Guide Available
Performance description: American modern dance is a rich tapestry which has been influenced by the music and movement from cultures world-wide.  VOYAGE is a one hour, narrated performance that will help young audiences understand how dance has been part of community life as a form of communication, empowerment and entertainment for centuries.  Rhythms and patterns gathered from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas will connect the past with the present to illustrate how dance can document history and culture, and tell our collective story.  VOYAGE is a celebration of diversity and inclusion. Artist description: Founded in 1966, RDT is the nation’s oldest and most successful repertory dance company. Unlike conventional modern dance organizations, RDT offers a diverse range of modern dance styles and choreographers paired together in dynamic and unexpected performances. RDT is art in motion, art that in its immediacy and intimacy can be both thrilling and profound.


Terrance Simien 
“Creole for Kidz” music workshop in classroom – 1 Available
Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at school 
Grades: 3-6

Missoula Children’s Theater: THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES 
In-school Acting Workshops – (up to 3 available, depending on group size and scheduling)
Tues Nov 19, 2019 or Wed Nov 20, 2019 – time to be mutually agreed upon.
Grades: K – 8

An Irish Christmas
“Irish Story Time” presented by a wonderful Irish storyteller Sheelagh Culen. – 1 available
Tues, Dec 17, 2019, Suggested time: 1pm 
This workshop is best presented for the entire student body (all elementary grades), in the gym or similar setting.  The Midwest Theater, can provide sound support for this event, if your space does not have a microphone.

Missoula Children’s Theater: BEAUTY LOU AND THE COUNTRY BEAST
In-school Acting Workshops – (up to 3 available, depending on group size and scheduling)
Tues Feb 3, 2020 or Wed Feb 4, 2020 – time to be mutually agreed upon.
Grades: K – 8

April Verch Band
In-school workshops (up to 4 available, depending on scheduling)
Wed, April 29, 2020 – Times to be mutually agreed upon.
Grades: 3-5

Repertory Dance Theater 
In-school movement workshops (up to 4 available, depending on scheduling) Grades: 3-6
Workshop description: The movement explorations are designed to develop awareness that the body can be used as an instrument of self-expression. Classes offer information necessary to help students build strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination and awareness while developing an understanding the elements of dance–Time, Space, Shape, and Energy. Movement classes provide alternate ways to learn and achieve basic educational objectives.

Teacher movement workshop
Workshop description: This workshop helps K-12 teachers develop the skills necessary to use movement as a tool to teach curriculum. Teachers will explore movement lesson plans, study guides, and curriculum based material which help to develop verbal, musical, logical, visual, kinesthetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences. Support material focuses on Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Math, Visual Arts, and Healthy Lifestyles. Through the creative process, teachers will study the elements of dance and learn how to incorporate them into their teaching.

2019/2020 Midwest Theater Film Series
Education Opportunities

New York International Children’s Film Festival “¡Viva Kid Flicks!”
Grades: 4-8    Student Discussion Guide and Festival Ballots Available
Thu, Oct 3, 2019 at Midwest Theater, 1-hour screening time

Film Synopsis NYICFF Viva Kid Flicks celebrates Spanish-language and Latino-themed stories in shorts from around the globe. You’ll experience moving stories and hear how around the world, Spanish stories have their own distinctive flair.

  • SPELLIASMOUS, Cuba, Documentary. The universal language of wizards bridges cultures in this imaginative doc.
  • GINA, Mexico, Animation, Dancing son jarocho has been Gina’s dream since she was born, but stuck wearing a chicken suit she can’t take off, she’ll have to shake more than just her tail feathers to reach the top.
  • STARDUST, Mexico, Live Action. One young man realizes that no matter how humble his surroundings, he can still find a path to reach for the stars.
  • HORSE’S STONE, Mexico, Live Action. Can a fabled stone offer another path for Matilde’s life on her Mexican rancho?
  • JESSZILLA, USA, Documentary. A pugilist-in-training, Jess has big boxing aspirations, while her father worries and supports her in one-two alternations of his own.
  • MI ABUELITA, Guatemala, Animation. Like everything Abuelita does, her tamales are filled with love, especially when her granddaughter gets to help out in the kitchen.
  • FISH, Spain, Live Action. The choices we make at mealtime sometimes have a very big impact for a seemingly picky eater with a lot more on his mind.

Science on Screen – The Science of Art, The Art of Science
Grade: 6
Thu, Oct 10, 2019 at Midwest Theater
Screening of the documentary film “Between the Folds”
Panel discussion with local scientists and artists, with a focus on 6th grade “engineering in science” standards.
Featured panelist: West Virginia University Professor of Entomology Yong-Lak Park
Film Synopsis: Origami: it’s not longer just paper cranes. A determined group of theoretical scientists and fine artists have abandoned conventional careers to forge unlikely new lives as modern paper folders. These intrepid individuals are interpreting the world in paper, creating a wild mix of sensibilities that redefine art, science and creativity.

Science on Screen – The Lives of Cows and Cowboys
Grade: 8
January 30, 2020 at Midwest Theater
Screening of the documentary film “Cowboys”
Panel discussion with local scientists and artists, with a focus on 8th grade “heredity” standards.
Panelists: Matt Spangler, Animal Science Professor and Extension Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Mitch Stephenson, Assistant Professor and Range and Forage Management Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Tim Nolting, Cowboy Poet
Film Synopsis: Told in the cinematic tradition of classic westerns, COWBOYS: A Documentary Portrait is a feature-length film that gives viewers the opportunity to ride alongside modern working cowboys on some of America’s largest and most remote cattle ranches. The movie documents the lives of the men and women working on these “big outfit” ranches—some over one million acres in size—that still require full crews of horseback mounted workers to tend large herds of cattle.

Science on Screen – TBD
Grade: 7
May 7, 2020 at Midwest Theater