It all started …
In the spring of 2013, the Kennedy School reinvigorated the drama program with a production of The Secret Garden. Over forty students participated, many of whom had no previous experience in the performing arts. As parents, educators, and theater professionals, we saw first-hand the transformative experience for our own children. We knew we’d uncovered something special and we needed it to continue.
The following fall, parent volunteers worked with administration to create and run an after-school club in the fall, and a full-scale musical production in the spring. Kennedy School Drama Club (KSDC) had begun. We partnered with Teaching Arts from Emerson College’s Theatre Education program and soon KSDC became the largest after-school club in the city, enrolling up to 75 students a semester.
One of the core principles of KSDC is access-- any student who wants to participate is welcome. We do not charge fees. We welcome students of all learning styles and abilities. We offer students an opportunity to grow out of their comfort zone and discover new talents and abilities. We select shows that accommodate large casts as no student is ever cut from the program.
As we thought about access to the performing arts for other students in the city, we decided we needed to expand. In 2015-16 we formed Somerville Arts for Youth, Inc., in order to provide performing arts opportunities to all children in the city.