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Bringing drama to Early Start

Summer Arts Literacy, a performance based program, is in full swing at 18 Hartford Public Schools

Hartford, CT – July 31, 2013- Hartford Performs, following its successful 2012 Summer Arts Literacy Program, continues to bring drama and performance into Hartford’s Early Start classrooms. Early Start is a five-week Hartford Public Schools summer school program that can engage students in creative educational activities, to provide underperforming students with additional tools to succeed in literacy. During the five weeks of Summer Arts Literacy, middle school classes meet for 90-minute blocks with a certified literacy teacher and a Hartford Performs teaching artist. This year’s anchor text is Sophocles’ Antigone, featuring struggles of loyalty, sibling rivalry and power, themes that are familiar in the daily lives of these students. After five weeks of study, following a curriculum, modeled on the Brown University’s Performance Cycle, and through preparation, the students put on a public performance inspired by the classic text, written by the students.

Hartford Performs believes that the arts can play a vital role in learning, while enhancing student growth. This Summer Arts Literacy Program – the theater component in particular – provides open pathways for students with different learning styles to succeed. In 2012, 318 students participated and in 2013, that number has increased in a total of 18 schools and 21 classrooms. Through self-assessments, teamwork, and developing acting skills, Hartford’s students are able to build a strong sense of community, while demonstrating an understanding of a challenging text.

“I learned that if we work together and set our mind to anything, we can accomplish anything” –A 2012 Summer Arts Literacy Middle School participant reflecting on the program.

Through the partnership between teachers, as well as the generous grant awarded by the Travelers Foundation, the charitable arm of Travelers, the Summer Arts Literacy Program is able to intrigue and excite Hartford Public School students about reading.

Hartford Performs is a collaborative network of schools, arts providers, community organizations, funders and other supporters working together to ensure that all Hartford Public School students have access to quality arts education delivered through in-school teaching staff in partnership with the city’s vibrant arts community.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Robert Warren at (860) 249-8674 or email at

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