Project Poetry Live! (PPL!), is about to celebrate its 18th year. The Litchfield Performing Arts founded program, was established in the ‘90s by Executive & Artistic Director, Vita West Muir, with the vision of giving children the opportunity to interact with peers of different cultural backgrounds in a professional arts environment. Each year PPL! brings professional artists, poets, dancers and musicians together with some 1,200 middle and high school students from five Connecticut school districts (Litchfield, Plymouth, Thomaston, Waterbury and Watertown) at no cost to the students. The program is funded through a grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education.
During the week of October 4th dancers from New York based Matthew Westerby Company were in-residence at each of the five participating schools teaching dance movement to students during school hours. At the close of residency week students auditioned to become a part of the student Dance Ensemble or Jazz Big Band, led by professional jazz musicians, Kris Allen and Albert Rivera. The students will rehearse in and out of school throughout November in preparation for the final performance where students will perform alongside the Matthew Westerby Company and the Naugatuck Valley Community College Dance Ensemble on the main stage at Naugatuck Valley Community College. There will be two student day performances, one November 18th and one November 19th, and a public evening performance and art show on November 19th at Naugatuck Valley Community College Arts Center from 7:30PM – 9:00PM.
In 2003 PPL! was recognized by the US Department of Education as one of 13 model middle school programs nation-wide, and received major funding to mount a 3-year controlled study to illuminate PPL’s effects. Conducted by Brown University’s Dr. Martin Gardiner, this study has shown that participation in PPL can result in statistically relevant increases (up to 13.3%) in standardized tests in Writing and Reading, especially among those who need it most -- low-income students or those receiving free and reduced lunch. Parent surveys report personal growth in their children, increased self-confidence, self-assurance, and improved social skills as well as the opportunity to work with, and get to know children from other schools, other races and other socioeconomic groups.
PPL is made possible by the CT State Department of Education Bureau of Choice Programs, CT Commission on Culture and Tourism, our participating schools and LPA members. Admission to the public performance of Project Poetry Live! is $15.00 for general admission and $5.00 for children. For more info call 860-361-6285 or email email@example.com