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Theatre West’s education programs seek to serve the community by presenting quality theatre for younger audiences and by using theater skills to present positive and invigorating educational programs that meet California Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) standards.

Download: Arts Ed Program Flier

For 25 years, Theatre West has run a comprehensive set of children’s theatre and education programs that have won numerous awards and recognition by the City, County, State, and US Senate and House of Representatives.  Today, Theatre West’s educational programs include our Storybook Theatre for the youngest audiences, our Elementary School program, our Middle School Playwrights program, and the High School Theatre programs

Selma590Called the “Best in the West for the squirmy set” by Los Angeles Magazine and “simply the best at what they do” by the Los Angeles Times, Theatre West’s Storybook Theatre is one of only two professional children’s theatres for elementary school children in Los Angeles County and, according to AEA, is one of the highest-impact children’s theatres in the US, serving more than 10,000 students a year.  It has been presenting young children with interactive, non-threatening theater and musicals and with stimulating theatre-based education programs for 25 years.

In 2010-2011 Theatre West is partnering up with Selma Avenue Elementary School to present a theater and music program. The theatre program consists of two four week-long in-class intensives, first for K – 3 and later for 4-6 grade students with Theatre West artists leading teachers and the 350 students in lessons in lessons aligned to California’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA ) standards.  Both programs will also foster English learning for the 98.7% of the student body that speak a language other than English at home.

Theatre West’s Middle School Playwrights program uses professional writers to mentor students in autobiographical writing for a 10-week period and thus teaches theatre to VAPA standards while also using theatre to teach literacy and expression to middle school students.  Theatre West’s work with high school students just completed its pilot year and is already providing theatre education (including to VAPA standards) at the newly created Visual and Performing Arts Academy at Reseda High School, a Title I school with an 80% Latino population and over 60% ESL students.

Theatre West’s education programs:

  • adapt classic stories and fairy tales into non-threatening plays and musicals that contain messages and lessons for young audiences;
  • present these adaptations as fully staged productions at Theatre West;
  • bring young audiences to these productions from across Los Angeles, even providing transportation from underserved areas when possible; and
  • partner with schools to bring theatre professionals into the classroom to use theatre as vehicles to teach storytelling, drama, reading, English, and language skills and to teach about theatre in accordance with VAPA.



Theatre West’s education programs now annually:

  • stage two full-length Storybook Theatre productions at Theatre West for 7,500 children from schools in Palos Verdes, Ontario, Ventura County, and across the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles basins;
  • work directly in the classrooms of partnering LAUSD schools to teach theatre to students and faculty in accordance with the California Visual and Performing Arts Standards (VAPA); and
  • provide access to quality performing arts for 2,500 Los Angeles children in underserved areas across Los Angeles and South Glendale.  In 2010-2011 Theatre West will:
  • preparing touring productions for middle and high school students;
  • training 350 students at Selma Avenue Elementary School;
  • serving as an arts mentor at Reseda High School; and
  • fully instituting the Middle School Playwrights program with LAUSD partners.


“The actor/teachers from Theatre West bring a vital and electric energy into the classroom that seems to ignite the student’s creative juices! … Their style of classroom management shows an intuitive sensitivity to each student’s hidden fears as well as their ability to be brave…. As a participating classroom teacher, I feel more confident to use new theater techniques in conjunction with my Open Court stories and units… My students were so engaged and excited during the sessions with Theatre West that the classroom seemed to become one functioning organism…the actor/teachers guiding my students to moments of excitement and to moments of quiet.”
~ Cecile Cabeen, Teacher, and Dr. Judy Perez, Principal, Hancock Park ES