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Each year, Court Theatre’s Artists-in-the-Schools (AIS) initiative partners with six South side high schools to enhance existing theatre arts programs or to create new programs. AIS endeavors to cultivate a life-long appreciation for classic theatre, and to nurture fundamental skills such as literacy and teamwork and to build self esteem.

  • South Side Youth Performance Fest. Court Theatre Teaching Artists work with approximately 250 students per year to prepare monologues for the annual South Side Youth Performance Fest. Not only does the festival afford students the chance to demonstrate skills they learn during AIS performance workshops, but for many students, it is also the first time they perform on a stage of any kind.
  • Scenic Design Program.  Students learn how to analyze a script for scenic elements, create a scenic design, make a model of their design using tools, and present their design to their class and judges at a scenic design competition.
  • In-class Artist Residencies. Professional actors, directors, and designers trained with Court Theatre curriculum teach students in six partner schools in Chicago’s South side. Providing tools to understand and participate in the creative process helps them connect their lives to the work onstage, making theatre engaging and meaningful for students of all backgrounds.
  • Student Matinees. All of Court’s AIS residency participants also attend Student Matinees for all productions in the season as an enhancement to their classroom work. Court provides a student study guide to help teachers and Teaching Artists prepare their students for the experience, and concludes each weekday morning performance with a post-show talkback with Court artists. Attending Student Matiness is an integral part of the AIS curriculum, as it provides a tangible context for the concepts taught in AIS residencies, as well as introduces students from South Side partner high schools to the theatrical art form.

Support provided by


Hyde Park Bank
For more information about Court’s student programming, contact:
Kamilah Rashied | Director of Education | Email

Please consider a donation to support the Artists-in-the-Schools programming at Court.


Photo: Joe Mazza.

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