Our team partners with each artistic venue and engages with local school systems. In Urbana-Champaign, for example, Rouse has already made a number of visits to Dr. Williams and Wiley Elementary Schools to work closely with teachers, students and parents to develop curriculum, devise activities, produce video and rehearse sequences that will eventually make their way to the final production.
In this way students and teachers become co-authors and take artistic ownership over a large-scale theatrical work.
Working with local musicians
Our team partners with each artistic venue to locate musicians from the community to join us onstage and improvise alongside Rouse’s musical score. Playing in their own musical style from Jazz to Electronic, and Classical to Hip-hop, the groups change every 30 minutes, a direct reference to the observers in the original study who transcribed Raymond’s actions in 30 minute increments.
In advance of the performance, our music director visits local musicians and prepares them for the event.
An Ongoing Social and Creative Process
One Boy’s Day is not only a scheduled artistic event, it is an ongoing social and creative process. In this short period of time we have already begun to see many positive outcomes that we will further advance in the coming years. These include:
●Creating a space of heightened visibility where participants can encounter one another on and offstage and see themselves as actors with agency to shape artistic and social outcomes
●Activating links between disparate organizations and social structures—from school systems and local music scenes to performing arts institutions and families
●Magnifying the sometimes invisible work of teachers, administrators and community leaders
●Dramatizing the creativity of children and framing their contributions as meaningful artistic expression
Nurturing Social-Emotional Learning Through Participation in Community-Based Artistic Practice
Drawing upon a 1949 “day-in-the-life” study of a seven-year-old child, Mikel Rouse’s One Boy’s Day is a 13-hour individualized performance adventure that explores the complex realities of today’s children through the lens of America’s rural past.
Set against the backdrop of a small, idyllic and homogenous Kansas town, One Boy’s Day invites local students, teachers and musicians onstage to contribute to a dynamic artistic structure that confronts the original study with the everyday lives of today’s children, home-made video documentation of their families, classrooms and their many worlds of play.
Participants receive guidance on how to inhabit theatrical spaces and perform their own mini-dramas of everyday life(participating in a classroom lesson, playing with classmates, eating dinner) thereby utilizing SEL goals of understanding the feelings and perspectives of others and recognizing individual and group similarities and differences.
In Urbana-Champaign, for example, Rouse has already partnered with Dr. Williams and Wiley Elementary Schools working closely with teachers, students, and parents to develop curricula, devise activities focused on Social-Emotional Learning, produce video, and rehearse sequences which will be incorporated into the final production.
In this way students and teachers become co-authors and take artistic ownership over a large-scale theatrical work, exploring alternate realities of how life might be and applying decision-making skills to deal responsibly with daily academic and social situations.
More than a scheduled artistic event, One Boy’s Day is an ongoing social and creative exploration. From activating connections between disparate organizations and social structures — from school systems and local music scenes to performing arts institutions and families, to magnifying the sometimes invisible work of teachers, administrators, and community leaders and amplifying the creativity of children and framing their contributions as meaningful artistic expression, One Boy’s Dayoffers perhaps the largest art laboratory for exploring and enacting SEL values and goals.