Arden for All in the Classroom

With your support, every child can experience the joy of live theatre.

Arden for All (AFA) is the Arden’s in-school arts education residency program. AFA serves third through fifth grade classrooms in schools across the Philadelphia region, targeting student populations who have little to no arts education and would otherwise not be able to attend a live theatre performance. AFA offers in-classroom lessons taught by Arden Teaching Artists in partner classrooms built around state Core Curriculum and the themes of Arden Children’s Theatre, as well as tickets to two Arden Children’s Theatre productions followed by onsite lessons.

AFA is based on the belief that arts-inspired education should be equally available to children from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and is designed to encourage literacy, inspire creativity and confidence, and allow students to discover their unique strengths and abilities.

In the 2023/24 season, approximately 1,825 individual students at 12 local schools will receive the AFA program.

Support Arden for All

Through Arden for All, each year participating students receive:

  • 10 Literacy-based lessons led by professional teaching artists: 8 in-classroom and 2 onsite at the Arden
  • Tickets to 2 Children’s Theatre productions followed by Q&A sessions with the actors
  • 2 show-related books and lesson workbooks for every students
  • Bus transportation
  • Supplementary curricula connecting the themes of the play to other subjects
  • Social narratives that prepare students for their theatregoing experience at the Arden 

Our Lessons

  • AFA is the only theatre-access program in Philadelphia that directly connects onstage work to classic pieces of Children’s Literature, with lessons developed in conjunction with sate Core Curriculum standards.
  • We teach literacy concepts such as: setting, character, plot, and dialogue by encouraging students to create their own adaptations of these stories through utilizing the actor’s toolkit: their bodies, voices, and imaginations.
  • Students learn career positions on and off stage that are necessary to create a play, as well as the basics of all theatrical design elements: scenic, costumes, lighting, and sound.

As a direct result of AFA, after three consecutive years of program participation, students will have:

  •  Received 30 high-quality theatre lessons led by Arden Teaching Artists
  • Seen six Arden Children’s Theatre productions and received six show-related books
  • Displayed growth in literacy skills, theatre knowledge and skills, and teamwork skills

Classroom Teacher Comments from 2022/23

“The students love the lessons and the play was terrific. I see all my students engaged with the lessons. They still ask to play Barnyard Talk Show. Many of them would never have the opportunity to see a play without this program.”

“For the students to be able to interact and converse with the actors after the performance means the world to them. They truly ask questions to learn from the actors’ experiences.”

“I LOVE being able to see my kids SHINE in other ways besides reading and writing. Their creativity comes out and they get a chance to feel proud of themselves.”