Dragoncillo in the classroom
We believe in outreach
As professional educators, we feel that outreach is a great way for kids to learn about performance traditions like the Spanish Golden Age, to recognize important contributions of a foreign culture, to understand how theater and shadow puppets work, and to experience an enjoyable live performance.
But we find that the primary reason for doing outreach is to validate two undervalued yet incredibly important features of Hispanic identity--its LANGUAGE and CULTURE.
Children frequently visit with us to say how amazing it was to see a show that uses SPANISH, the language that their parents speak at home. Even kids that don't speak Spanish celebrate the language after the performance. It's really a unique experience.
What does it look like?
The presentation typically has three parts:
1. An introduction to the Spanish Golden Age (when and where it happened, who its most popular figures were), the entremés (a short, 1-act play), and an idea of what to expect in the plays we'll be sharing.
2. Shadow puppet performance of the Golden Age plays (such as the Juan Rana medley “The Fabulous Johnny Frog,” or “Second Hands and the Ladies’ Man,” featuring plays by Francisco de Quevedo). We offer performances in Spanish and English and can modify the presentation according to the needs of the audience.
3. Questions and answers where students have an opportunity to learn more about the show and the experience.
How to do outreach?
—Do it early.
—Do it often.
—Do it on your feet.
Dragoncillo’s innovative approach to shadow puppetry means we can extend the outreach experience to include the performers themselves! With just an hour or two of rehearsals we can provide a new, inexperienced cast of would-be puppeteers with the materials and know-how to perform for their own communities. Not only does this share the fun of performing with puppets, it amplifies the lasting impact of the experience by sharing ownership in the performance and inviting the student to become the teacher. After all, as professional educators and puppeteers ourselves, we believe the best way to learn something is by DOING!
TARGET AUDIENCE? Our outreach presentation is geared towards elementary and middle school-aged children. Knowledge of Spanish is a plus, but not necessary to understand the show.
LENGTH? The entire presentation will not last longer than 50 minutes. We will need approximately 40 minutes for the show followed by 5-10 minutes of question and answer.
HOW MANY STUDENTS CAN ATTEND? Depending on the size of the venue, we can comfortably accommodate 1-4 classes, sometimes an entire grade, worth of students per presentation (so, maybe somewhere around 120 students).
HOW MANY PRESENTATIONS? Depending on the number of students interested in the presentation, we can repeat it 3-4 times if necessary.
Schools we’ve visited
North Rockford Middle School. Rockford, Michigan, 2018.
Paso del Norte School (K-8). El Paso, Texas, 2019.
Crosby Elementary School (Pre K-5). El Paso, Texas, 2019.
University of Texas, El Paso. El Paso, Texas, 2019.
Alta-Aurelia Elementary School. Storm Lake, Iowa, 2019.
Buena Vista University. Storm Lake, Iowa, 2019.
St. Mary’s School (K-5). Storm Lake, Iowa, 2019.
Meadow Brook Elementary. Grand Rapids, MI, 2019.