Blue Heron Tales, Texts & Theater

May 1 – May 5, 2023

For the sixth grade students at Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend, WA

During Tales, Texts & Theater, the entire sixth grade student body of Port Townsend’s Blue Heron Middle School will work with vital, contemporary artists in a variety of disciplines— creative writing, theatrical movement, music, and visual art—for a weeklong immersion in creativity.

Beginning each day with a core subject, students get an in depth concentration on a genre of their choice. Then they explore by learning about other art forms in their other three classes, seeing how the different arts interconnect.

Each afternoon, the core artist faculty show and talk about the work they do. At the end of the week, students share their creative experiments with the community in a student showcase performance.

Since 2001, this innovative collaboration between the Centrum, the Port Townsend School District, the Washington State Arts Commission, and PT Artscape, provides both students and teachers a model experience in arts immersion.


Giant Puppets with Margie McDonald

Bring Giants to life. Students will work together to create large puppets using simple materials such as cardboard, wire, fabric, sticks and tape. The Giants come to life on stage for Friday’s Student Showcase, accompanied by an invented narrative.

Caribbean Steel Pan Band with Angie Tabor

This course takes students through a fun, high-energy, hands-on musical journey tracing the roots of the steel pans in Trinidad & Tobago. Students will explore the traditional music created by a determined youth culture, who, in spite of many obstacles, continued to find ways to make their music. Instruments will include Tamboo Bamboo, found metal objects, and authentic steel pans!

Comics and Worldbuilding with Taylor Dow

How can collaborative world-building techniques from tabletop role-playing games help us make comics in community? This class will focus on building your narrative and collaborative art skills to create a host of memorable settings and characters in a living, thriving world. Students will begin this class by drawing a massive, continuous map. As the week progresses, we will create comics that add details to our world-map, zooming in on individual cities, habitats, legends, characters, and forbidden places. The week concludes with an art show, allowing attendees to explore the landscape of our collective imagination.

Theater Creation with Marisol Rosa-Shapiro (Theater)

Explore a variety of theatrical means for telling stories. Our emphasis will be on playful exploration that employs the poetic body, voice, and imagination to create brand new, collaborative works of theater. Participants will wear a variety of creative hats, including actor, director, and writer. All levels of experience welcome and encouraged!

West African Dance with Etienne Cakpo

Learn basic dance moves and drum rhythms from the Benin-Ghana coastal region of West Africa. This class is appropriate for boys and girls of all experience levels. The dances have graceful and strong movements that require undulation of the back and bending of the knees. Dances integrate traditional, social and spiritual dances as well as modern movements commonly found across West African countries.

Spoken Word Poetry with Sara Brickman.

Everyone already has everything they need to write a poem. We’ll begin by writing poems that explore our personal experiences, and find our voices and the confidence to perform. We’ll look at different types of poems, and engage with theater and performance exercises to learn the skills to bring our writing to life through performance. We’ll study gestures, vocal tone, attitude, pacing, and connecting with an audience as we build towards our final sharing day.


Tales, Texts & Theater is funded through the generosity of community sponsors. Donations from Homer Smith Insurance Company, Kristin Manwaring Insurance Company, Clarity Enterprises, and Port Townsend Education Foundation add to funding provided by Centrum, PTArtscape, 6th grade families, and the Port Townsend School District to make this experience an ongoing program.

Additional sponsors include the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, ArtsWA, The Baker Foundation, Jubilation Foundation, the Congdon Hanson Family, and nearly a thousand individual donors whose generosity celebrates the power of creativity to change lives.

For more information, please contact Alyssa de Leon at 360.385.3102.