This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Education & Outreach

Art plays a vital role in the creation of a healthy society. We believe in the power of art to affect social change. That is why Penumbra’s unique educational tools are designed to increase awareness and celebrate difference.

Our free study guides are a favorite of patrons and teachers. The guides let you dive into the rich historical details that contextualize each thought-provoking play. Teachers can combine standardized lesson plans with classroom workshops and post-show discussions, giving students an unparalleled opportunity to proactively confront issues of racism and social justice in a safe, supportive environment.

Summer Institute is an intensive theatre training program where junior high and high school students work with professional artists to build community and challenge ideas, using theatre to make a real difference in the world. Students write and perform in an original ensemble piece about issues important to them. After graduation, alumni work with staff mentors to create and execute social change projects inside their own communities. Dozens of these projects have been completed with astounding results.


Sarah Bellamy
Co-Artistic Director – Penumbra Theatre
 
Education & Outreach

Horace J. Bond Ambassador Program - Macalester College, the University of Minnesota and Hamline University faculty select exceptional undergraduates who work with Penumbra to address social issues on campus.

Fellowships - Providing support for students from high school through graduate school to explore musical and dramatic theatre, literary criticism, and dramaturgy. 

Internships - Behind the scenes and close to the action, our internship programs give students the opportunity to work and learn at the same time.

Quilting Circle - A community experience you can look forward to annually. Learn new skills and make an original art piece that is featured in our holiday musical favorite, Black Nativity.

Salon Series - Guest lectures, roundtable discussions, symposia and post-play discussions offer patrons the opportunity to think critically about our art and continue the dialogue.

Student Matinees - Offering students ages 14 and up the opportunity to explore the African American experience through artistically excellent productions. Bring your students to see a show and stay afterwards for a post-play discussion.

Study Guides - Free and online, Penumbra’s study guides include contextual essays, artist interviews, and much more. Each guide includes curriculum for grades 9-12 by high school educators to enhance learning in your classroom!

Summer Institute - Training the next generation of activist artists! Students study the craft of performance while learning about social justice to promote change in their own communities.

The Wilson Lab - This archival project will preserve the legacy of the preeminent African American theatre company in the nation. The Lab will make personal interviews from founding company members, videography, literature and more available for research.

Workshops - Exploring the power of art to change lives and communities. Join us at the Science Museum of Minnesota or book your own RACE workshop today!

The Penumbra Theatre Company Quilt - See the quilt squares that now illuminate the walls of our theatre.



Meet the Education and Outreach Team!

SARAH BELLAMY - Associate Artistic Director - Education
Sarah Bellamy is the Associate Artistic Director - Education for Penumbra Theatre Company, one of the preeminent African American theatre companies in the nation. She has designed and launched several acclaimed programs that engage patrons of the theatre in critical thinking, dialogue and action around issues of race and social justice. Among the most renowned is the "RACE Workshop: Meet Your Metaphor," curated to accompany the Science Museum of Minnesota's 2007 exhibit RACE: Are We So Different?, and Penumbra Theatre's Summer Institute, an intensive theatre-training program for youth to practice socially responsible art and civic engagement. Graduates of the program employ practical tools acquired at Summer Institute to activate social change projects addressing issues of import to their communities. A skilled facilitator, Ms. Bellamy works with learners of all ages to engage in sometimes difficult conversations about race and American history. Using theatre as a site for critique, modeling and problem-solving, participants begin to see themselves and the potential for their own activism as empowering and inspired. Ms. Bellamy is the principal scholar and editor for Penumbra Theatre Company and in that capacity supervises the August Wilson Fellowship Program, a doctoral fellowship in dramaturgy and literary criticism, in partnership with the University of Minnesota. She has researched and composed over twenty contextual essays to accompany Penumbra's main-stage productions since 2005. In conjunction with these comprehensive study guides, she oversees the creation of standardized, original curricula for educators to engage culturally specific arts in their classrooms. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she studied creative writing and postcolonial theory and holds an M.A. in the Humanities from The University of Chicago in Caribbean Studies where she specialized in colonial history from 1400-1800. Since returning to the Twin Cities, Ms. Bellamy has focused her attention once again on creative writing including short stories, screenwriting and playwriting. She is currently working toward her doctorate in Comparative Studies and Discourse in Society at the University of Minnesota.

CLARIBEL GROSS – Community Outreach Coordinator
Claribel is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she studied Theatre Arts with an emphasis on performance. She has a strong interest in international development and working with communities through theatre, and has lived and worked in Ecuador where she used theatre as a tool to teach English as a Second Language. Claribel is happy to be back in the Twin Cities working with Penumbra where she puts her passion for arts education and development to use. Her primary role is connecting Penumbra’s student leaders with local advocacy and health and wellness organizations throughout the Twin Cities for internships and apprenticeship opportunities.

H. ADAM HARRIS – Teen Programs Coordinator
Adam is the Teen Programs Coordinator with Penumbra Theatre Company and a former Summer Institute Intern. As a professional actor, he was recently seen in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Children’s Theatre Company); The Way of Water (Frank Theatre); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Much Ado About Nothing, (Guthrie Theater); and Penumbra Theatre’s production of The Amen Corner at the Guthrie Theater. Adam received his B.F.A from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program along with a minor in African American Studies. Adam recently toured prisons, homeless shelters, and community centers in a production of The Seven with Ten Thousand Things Theater. His primary role is connecting passionate young leaders with Penumbra’s Summer Institute program and working with educators to bring theatre for social change into their classrooms.

DR. SOOJIN PATE - Education Director
Dr. SooJin Pate is thrilled to be the new Education Director for the Penumbra Theatre Company. Over the past decade, she has worked as a scholar, educator, and writer who has been dedicated to praxis that centers the lives and experiences of historically marginalized peoples. Since receiving her Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, she has taught courses on critical race theory, women of color feminism, African diasporic literature, and U.S. history and culture at various colleges and universities in the Twin Cities area. She is the author of From Orphan to Adoptee: U.S. Empire and Genealogies of Korean Adoption (University of Minnesota Press, 2014). Her writings on African American literature and Korean adoption have appeared in academic journals and edited volumes. She is passionate about issues related to self-care and mothering. To that end, she is currently working on an article about the importance of self-care, as well as a book that explores how to raise a nonwhite daughter in a white supremacist society.

 

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