Merry-Go-Round Youth Theater Visits Ring Elementary School

Performers from the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theater performed “Aesop Fables” for Ring Elementary School second graders. Submitted photo

Ring Elementary School second-graders had the unique opportunity to unleash their imaginations with a performance of “Aesop’s Fables” presented by the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre. Aesop’s famous fables came to life for students in an upbeat performance. Tidbits of Aesop’s life and the traditions of Greek Theatre, as well as literary devices such as personification and rhyme, were interwoven among such well-known tales as The Milkmaid and Her Pail, The Lion and the Mouse and The Tortoise and the Hare. The actors used rap, rhyme and masks to give these famous fables a modern twist.

Jamestown Schools partners with Merry-Go-Round Youth Theater to give all elementary school students the opportunity to see, and participate in, live theater that directly relates to their curriculum. Second graders study Ancient Greek Civilization and Greek Myths in English Language Arts so this entertaining performance was a perfect fit with their classroom work.

“We coordinate our performances to the grade-level curriculum,” said performer Devin Medley. “We bring theater to children who might not have the opportunity to be able to see live theater. In the second-grade classrooms, we talked about ancient Greek theater and Aesop. We talked about fables and parables and how he shared them and that the tradition of storytelling still carries on today.”

Before each performance, the actors visited individual classrooms to explain what happens in the plays with the learning targets in mind. The intent in the Pre-Performance Workshop is to introduce them to the language, characters, settings and type of story they will see. Students should then be able to make their own predictions about what they will see in the show, allowing for critical thinking to continue throughout the performance. Each grade level receives a different program from the Youth Theater tailored to their curriculum.

The largest youth theatre in Upstate New York and one of the largest in the country, The Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre reaches more than 125,000 students across the state through its curriculum based, multi-discipline Sequential Dramatics Program.