For our most up-to-date COVID-19 policies click here

For our most up-to-date COVID-19 policies click here


The Orpheum Theatre Group (OTG) is proud to be a Kennedy Center Partners in Education Team, in collaboration with Shelby County Schools. Through this program, OTG brings Kennedy Center teaching artists to work with teachers across the Mid-South. These arts integration specialists provide educators with the tools and strategies to transform classrooms. 

Arts integration, as defined by the Kennedy Center, is “an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form.” Arts integration learning has shown to increase literacy, raise test scores, and help develop key communication skills. In short, arts integration makes learning fun while creating more enthusiastic, creative, and empathetic students.

Kennedy Center Professional Development Offerings

All workshops are held virtually, and the times listed below are in Eastern Time (ET). Space in
these workshops is limited.

Register Here

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis

Devising Justice: Using the News to Create Theater
For Teachers of Grades 5-8
Led by Taylor St. John, drama teaching artist from Tennessee

Ignite your creativity, deepen your practice, and engage your students through pantomime! This
interactive workshop introduces participants to narrative pantomime, a powerful drama strategy that
emphasizes vocabulary, development, context building, and reading comprehension. Teachers will learn
the four elements of pantomime and identify how to successfully guide students through a narrative
pantomime based on an image or text. Get ready to set the stage for drama in your classroom!
This is a synchronous, two-session workshop; participants must register for both sessions.

Session 1: Monday, January 24 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST
Session 2: Monday, January 31 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST
Fee: $20

Changing the Story: Experiments in Theater-Making through a Trauma-Informed Lens
For Teachers of Grades 5-8
Led by ChelseaDee Harrison, drama teaching artist from Washington, D.C.

School communities are on the front lines of dealing with some of society’s most complex
manifestations of trauma. Increasing our awareness of trauma can help us mitigate clashes, increase
collaboration, and create space for communities to heal. In this two-part theater-making workshop,
participants will experience a crash course in devised theater techniques and explore the intersections
of art, neuroscience, and healing. The first session will be focused on community building among
teachers. Session two will then translate concepts into strategies for the classroom.
This is a synchronous, two-session workshop; participants must register for both sessions.

Session 1: Wednesday, February 16 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST
Session 2: Wednesday, February 23 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST
Fee: $20

Drawing to Write
For Teachers of Grades K-2 (Wednesday) and 3-8 (Thursday)
Led by Kay Thomas, visual arts teaching artist from Texas

Drawing a portrait can be an intimidating experience for the non-artist. In this engaging workshop,
participants will learn an easily accessible method of drawing portraits in order to create original
characters and stories that will improve students’ narrative drawing and writing skills. This workshop has
multiple classroom applications in both visual art and language arts. When you leave this workshop, you
will be able to teach a drawing lesson with confidence and say, “Drawing, I can do this!”
This is a synchronous, one-session workshop adapted to target different grade level ranges
between Wednesday and Thursday. It is designed to be taken once and will have some overlap
between sessions; however, participants may register for both if they wish to explore
adaptations for both early elementary and upper elementary/middle school.

For Teachers of Grades K-2:
Wednesday, March 16 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. EDT
Fee: $10
For Teachers of Grades 3-8:
DATE: Thursday, March 17 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. EDT
Fee: $10

Analyzing Characters Through Digital Music Composition
For Teachers of Grades 3-5
Led by Henry Cardenas, music teaching artist from Illinois

Learn how to synthesize character traits using digital music composition! In this workshop, participants
will use tools from Google Chrome Music Lab, a free web-based digital music composition website, to
create musical representations for fictional characters and learn how to talk about their compositions
through supportive and engaging artist talks.
This is a synchronous, two-session workshop; participants must register for both sessions.

Session 1: Tuesday, March 22 from 7-8:30 p.m. EDT
Session 2: Tuesday, March 29 from 7-8:30 p.m. EDT
Fee: $20

The Stories We Tell: A Movement Study
For Teachers of Grades K-2
Led by Valerie Branch, dance teaching artist from Maryland

Dance is an incredible tool for fostering social-emotional development in young students. In this
workshop, educators will discover strategies that encourage both themselves and their students to be
comfortable and confident in using dance in the classroom. Through the Describe a Dance process,
participants will explore how to incorporate different choreographic and dance elements into any
curricular topic—all while supporting the development of social-emotional skills such as self-expression
and self-management.
This is a synchronous, two-session workshop; participants must register for both sessions.

Session 1: Thursday, March 24 from 4:30-6 p.m. EDT
Session 2: Thursday, March 31 from 4:30-6 p.m. EDT
Fee: $20

Moving Through Technology: Exploring Elementary Coding and Algorithms with Dance
For Teachers of Grades K-3
Led by Harlan Brownlee, dance teaching artist from Missouri

Choreography, like coding, is a set of instructions. This professional development workshop is interactive
as it merges coding and technology with creative movement, and leads participants through a process
where they create short simple dances that illustrate the connections. Led by Harlan Brownlee,
participants will learn movement and instructional strategies that can be immediately taken back to the
This is a synchronous, two-session workshop; participants must register for both sessions.

Session 1: Thursday, April 21 from 7-8:30pm EDT
Session 2: Thursday, April 28 from 7-8:0pm EDT
Fee: $20

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