Project Poetry Live! has now affected a generation of students. Founded in 1993, PPL! receives support from the Connecticut State Department of Education Interdistrict Cooperative Grants Program, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, George A and Grace L Long Foundation, First Congregational Church of Waterbury Lucy Edwina Schlegel Fund, LPA Members and others.
Each year professional poets, artists, musicians, and dancers work with 1,200 middle and high school students in five Connecticut school districts including Thomaston, Watertown, Litchfield, Plymouth and Waterbury. The 7th graders write poetry, attend writer's workshops, see their words become music at the hands of composer Albert Rivera, design sets under the guidance of regional artist and educator, Lisa Huebenthal, and work with community artists translating their words into other art forms.
And they dance! We are thrilled to welcome Matthew Westerby and his dancers to teach all 1,100 teens. Matthew Westerby Company is a New York City-based performing group of versatile and dynamic performers, led by choreographer Matthew Westerby. Athletic, virtuosic movement and a dedication to spatial design characterize the choreography of Westerby, influenced by his background and training in the UK and subsequent professional experiences and collaborations. His work has been described as “possessing an irresistible force…” (Ben Felsenburg, Resolution Review) “Drawing from a pool of movement that spread contagiously from one dancer to the next, the repetitions… were refreshingly simple” (Lydia Wharf, Resolution Review). The Company is thrilled to have been invited to be a part of PPL! this year, and will present three premieres as part of the final performances. Matthew Westerby Company is invested and involved in Arts-in-Education for all ages, and works throughout the Tri-State area.
Matthew Westerby will create special dance pieces for approximately 70 seventh graders as well as "alumni" dancers (8th to 12th graders). This latter group, bitten by the dance bug, return year after year on their own time to remain with the project.
Thirty more students become a jazz big band under Albert Rivera's baton and back the dancers with their original music. Many of these band members will continue their studies during the summer at Litchfield Jazz Camp.
PPL! students will perform at Naugatuck Valley College on November 18, 2011, for audiences of some 2,000 fellow students, their families and the general public. Still more student artists (up to 200) display their work for a post concert reception and gallery.
Public school teachers in PPL! guide the project and learn from each other and the arts professionals. They mount the art show of student works, institute poetry coffee house readings in their home schools, create new curriculum around project themes, compile poetry anthologies for their school libraries, encourage students to enter writing contests and build interdistrict communication and parent involvement. Parents serve as teachers' aides and chaperones. We are grateful for their help and proud of their talented children.
Tickets will be available in advance and at the door for the final performance at 7:30 pm on Friday, November 18, 2011. Tickets: $15, General Admission, $5 for children.
For tickets or more information about PPL! please email: or call 860-361-6285.