Our Programs

 

ISE YOUTH PROGRAMS

(INCLUDING DIVERSITY PROGRAMS

and our one-of-a-kind

PAGE-TO-STAGE

multi-part curriculum project)

BRIEF OVERVIEW:

ISE's annual 4 month Shakespeare Festival season typically runs April thru July, usually kicking off near or on Shakespeare's April Birthday.  The season almost always opens with ISE's Spring Break Camp youth program, as well as other youth activites that (along with ISE educational programs and activities for Seniors and Adult learners) constitute our "lead up" to the performances and plays showcased in the festival.  ISE's youth programs are much in demand, and are limited only by funding limitations. 

Program Cost information and notes on Diversity in ISE Youth programs can be found in more detail below.

Populations served: ISE youth programs are typically presented to inner city, urban-oriented youth who reside in a notably multi-cultural and often heavily bi-lingual or ESL (English as a Second Language) environment comprised of many risk factors.  Each year, approximately 85 % (or more) of the youth ISE serves in most of our programs present with federally determined poverty indicators and/or qualify for free or reduced price school lunch programs. 
ISE maintains a curriculum of 15 programs that serve youth, with about half of these programs easily adapted to general youth populations, and all but one of these programs typically explicitly targeted to at-risk youth; the other program (Youth Immersion) being targeted to Gifted and Talented youth.

 

DISCUSSION OF IMPACT

The common prevalence of strong Shakespeare-based youth programs conducted in association with a community's Shakespeare Festival is one of many reasons why communities clamor for these festivals, which are found in about 250 cities all over the US (about 5 Shakespeare Festivals per state).  But any discussion of the youth programming typically conducted by these programs must begin and end with an analysis of the impact that one can look to and reasonably expect from such programs. 

Overall, the art form of theatre and specifically, Shakespeare-based programming are extremely well supported by research which demonstrates the signficant impact that this type of programming can have upon youth, and ISE cites studies elsewhere in these pages about such programs like "Will Power" which demonstrate this truth. 

But with regard to the type of impact that a community can expect from its Shakespeare-based youth programming, a fascinating and important coincidence occurred during the Spring of ISE's Fifth Anniversary Season. As recently as just this past April 2013, a cohort of some 25 key leaders of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, including CEO Jay Byers, attended Aviva's “Big Community Breakfast” on youth issues. There, a California expert in using Shakespeare to reach high risk youth had been brought in to Des Moines via support of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, especially to teach our community about working with youth. 

The lessons that story teaches us regarding the type of impact which Shakespeare programming can have on youth are enormous- and such data is actually also readily found in study after study concerning both theatre's impact on youth as well as specifically the impact of Shakespeare on youth.  Citing such information elsewhere in these pages, here we will simply outline three key take-aways for the reader. 

1. The study of Shakespeare causes proven increases in multiple outcomes important to school success; from team-work to literacy. 

2.  Strong research shows that if the arts are to be used to minimize or counterbalance youth risk factors related to public health (issues such as school drop out, drug/alcohol use, or gang involvement) that of all the arts, it is specifically theatre which functions best in a preventative and intervention role. 

3.  And perhaps most importantly in the face of this data, the reader should know that ISE staff has fairly extraordinary credentials and licensure for working with youth, and especially for working with youth while implementing explicitly the type of best practice approaches which this data points to.

ISE TEACHING CREDENTIALS AND BONA FIDES / RE IMPACT:

Research clearly documents that the impact of any youth program is in large part affected by who implements a program and how it is implemented- ie, with best practices- or not.

So it is impossible to approach discussion of the impact of ISE youth programs without first noting our staff's notable credentials and bona fides in youth services.  ISE staff credentials and Vita's are fully broken out in other pages of this website, inclusive of national publications and journal articles that ISE staff have written in this feild, but here we provide a brief overview of ISE's signficant credentials in this area.

ISE staff manifests between them full teaching licensure by the state of Iowa, and hold multiple certifications from a variety of institutions of higher education.  The also hold a host of sub-specialty teaching certifications and endorsements which certify significant “Trainer of Trainer” expertise in several key areas fundamental to working with youth, and indeed, are nationally published in this field, inclusive of both professional peer review journals and groundbreaking national curricula.  Between them, ISE staff have written and published two different national curriculum manuals and also a set of nationally-published curriculum modules; all curricula is focused on working with highest risk youth and youth of color.

ISE staff are additionally professionally credentialed in other areas of the field. For but one example, one certification held by ISE staff members is in teaching Shakespeare, conveyed by the Folger National Shakespeare Library of Washington, DC.

Further, ISE staff are rostered specifically as teaching artists by 2 different Metro rostering agencies and by the State of Iowa/Iowa Arts Council. 

ISE offers our credentialed programs bilingually (in Spanish).

In addition to credentials and highly specialized training, ISE teachers bring to ISE programs a wealth of experience.  ISE staff have decades of experience with Des Moines Public Schools, with numerous other school districts across Iowa, and in institutions of higher education all across Iowa (such as with Iowa State University and University of Iowa). ISE staff also have over a decades of history in providing Shakespeare based programs (especially to libraries), a history which precedes the founding of ISE.

ISE staff are also bona fide award winning teaching experts. ISE teachers have won numerous “Teacher of the Year” awards as well as one of Iowa's merely two “Exemplary in the Nation” awards (a federal-level award annually given to less than 20 programs across the nation for implementing research-based best-practice youth programming). 

Finally, ISE was also an early-adopter of various impact measurement and evaluation programs, inclusive of national level expertise in "Logic Model" measures of program outcomes.  Indeed, one of ISE's two lead staff members was a federal grant program evaluator at one of Iowa State's leading agencies for research of program outcomes.  She held the level of Co Principal Investigator on several projects, and is fully certified in numerous areas related to program evaluation, including human subjects research.

SUMMARY: Given that ISE staff are bona fide experts in these fields [they have provided in-depth consultation to 3 different federal agencies  (the US Department of Education, the US Department of Juvenile Justice, and the US Department of Human Services) – plus the US Department of Defense concerning these areas of expertise, we hope that this information about ISE credentials is useful in creating complete reader confidence that ISE youth programs are as impactful as possible and are reliably focused on trustworthy best practice. 

Indeed, ISE youth arts programs often stand head-&-shoulders above others, with ISE’s research-based strategies fostering statistically-valid success markers. 

ISE YOUTH PROGRAMS - NUMERICALLY-MEASURED IMPACT: 

Per the information above, upon request, we would be happy to detail the type of statistically significant outcomes our programs can routinely create in youth 

Meanwhile, for a more generic sense of impact, note that in 2012 ISE reached our 1000th youth served in one of ISE's many different forms of youth programming (described below.)  Approximately 85% of these youth presented with federal-level poverty and risk indicators. 

It suffices to say:  exposing the community’s youth to world-class works is typically a part of the mission of most Shakespeare Festivals -and one of (the many) reasons why a community invests in these summer traditions. We believe ISE rises to the tradition in extraordinary fashion – our terrific, bona fide competence with youth programming is one of the many ways in which ISE “punches above our weight.”

 

 

 BREAK OUT AND SHORT DESCRIPTIONS

OF ISE YOUTH PROGRAMS:

ISE's "Page to Stage"

Curriculum and Projects

All programs infused with -or bi-lingual with- Spanish when appropriate!

ISE Youth program content features everything from Play Appreciation to Play-writing to Introduction to Acting, to Backstage Basics to Costume and Set Design.  Many other programs additionally feature exploration specifically of the works of William Shakespeare in all dimensions: Shakespearean theatre, literature, interpretation and appreciation.

We call this programming
“Page to Stage”. 

SUMMARY OF SUMMER FESTIVAL ISE YOUTH PROGRAMS (AND POPULATIONS: SERVED):

I) Youth and Family Night at the Festival:  Activities are different every year, and range from a pre-show on-stage story circle that features scenes or activities from the Mainstage show, to pre-show youth concerts, to special front (up-close) seating areas for youth and families. 

II) Traveling show versions of our Youth and Family Night programming are also offered, such as the Ice Cream Social Shakespeare Night at historic Jordan House or in collaboration with the Parks and Rec Department of Windsor Heights or with the Waukee Arts Council.  Rather than full length plays, these shows feature “ShakeScenes” - short scenes from the Mainstage presented in interactive youth-friendly fashion. 

III)Festival “Wrap Around” programs provide VIP seating and other engagement approaches to youth who have graduated from one of our more intensive year-round programs (this program harnesses “wrap around” and Search Institute best practice)

IV) Public Library Workshops (typically held one week prior to the summer Festival), usually featuring a theme from the Mainstage show, presented to Library youth activity patrons or to such groups as Upward Bound.  These programs specifically included Wrap-around programming.

YEAR ROUND ISE YOUTH PROGRAMS (AND POPULATION SERVED):

V.) Spring Break Camp Collaborative; Theatre Division (for at-risk/multicultural youth):  A week-long inner city camp held in collaboration with Gateway Dance Theatre, in which ISE provides all theatre tract classes, culminating in an end of camp performance showcase for the community.  Featuring ISE's “Page to Stage” program where youth both write and perform their play for an audience.  Theme:  ShakeSpheres (Shakespeare for multicultural audiences.)

VI) Summer Camp Youth Collaborative:  Theatre Division (for at-risk/multicultural youth):  A week-long inner city camp held in collaboration with Gateway Dance Theatre, in which ISE provides all theatre tract classes, culminating in an end of camp performance showcase for the community.  Featuring ISE's “Page to Stage” program where youth both write and perform their play for an audience. Theme:  Shake and Rattle that Role (interpreting Shakespearean roles with cross-cultural approaches.)

VII) ISE Youth Immersion Programs (for gifted and talent youth): A Pre-professional program.  Youth work alongside adult actors in ISE shows, with special coaching from our Director.  Youth in these shows participate in all professional meetings and company decisions. 

VIII) ISE FREE programs for Military Youth and Families: In collaboration with Terrace Hill, during our Christmas show ISE provides free seats for Iowa Military Families, including a special welcome presentation where the Governor speaks and ISE actors and staff present to the families in various ways. 

IX) (NEW in 2013) ISE Miss Iowa, Miss Young Iowa, Tiny Miss Iowa (and related Miss Greater Des Moines Scholarship programs) – under current development:  ISE is buttressing the performance component of these programs by working with the youth enrolled in these programs to appear on our stage; as applicable with ISE coaching.

X.) (NEW in 2013) ISE component of RunDSM Poetry collaborative (serving 7 area Jr. Highs- this is a major city-wide summer camp and year-round initiative which just won substantial United Way funding for excellence.) ISE places youth in pre-show slam poetry competitions at the festival, and works to help the youth develop Shakespearean themes for their original poems.

XI) Special on-site traveling shows (ie at Boys and Girls Club or other large scale youth organizations, including in schools).  This is a wrap-around program where ISE provides a youth-oriented Shakespeare Shorts show as well as coordinated on-site pre and post show workshops to internal organizations such as the Club or School's Theatre Club, Arts Clubs, etc.

XII) Special on-site teaching intensives (inc intern-based teaching programs) held directly in schools for a one to two month duration, meeting teaching accreditation requirements and/or AEA Teaching Standards, such as our residences at Moulton Elementary, Scavo Alternative High School, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter (all in Des Moines) and out of Des Moines, such as Marshalltown Public School District.

XIII) Cross-disciplinary arts programs or camps, such as residency at the Des Moines Art Center, where ISE Artistic Director Lorenzo Sandoval infused 3 dimensional theatrical interpretations (and helped youth create such interpretations) into Art Center presentation of themes from its two dimensional painting artists.

XIV) Day-long Youth Arts Workshops (often coordinated thru either Metro Arts Alliance, Very Special Arts Iowa, or through our listing as rostered Teaching Artists with the Iowa Arts Council.) The subject matter for these workshops can range from “Theatre Schmeater” (for pre-school children) to Bard-a-palooza (for high school youth).

XV) Special on-site teaching intensives (inc intern-based teaching programs) held directly in schools for a one to two month duration, meeting teaching accreditation requirements and/or AEA Teaching Standards, such as our residences at Moulton Elementary, Scavo Alternative High School, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter (all in Des Moines) and out of Des Moines, such as Marshalltown Public School District.

NOTES ON PROGRAM COSTS: 

As wise and thoughtful custodians of community funding, ISE tries to be very transparent about youth program costs.

The primary direct cost for ISE youth programs is staff time.  The predmonance of our programs are served by ISE's two primary professional staff to ensure quality control around best practice implementation.  However, some programs utilize short time hires of other artists, who are trained in the program by our lead teachers and who generally teach the programs right alongside our lead teachers. Many programs also typically require minor materials costs (under $500 per program) for materials and supplies such as supplies for the creation of costumes, writing or artwork creation in association with the programs, and snacks or small rewards or medalions for youth participants.  But some programs, particularly costume-intensive programs, can require much higher materials costs, and programs which involve traveling shows or other presented shows can require a signifcant amount of additional costs to provide the actors, their costumes, and other show elements such as lights and sound, which can raise the costs considerably. 

Also, in additon to staff time and direct program costs there are also neccessary indirect administrative costs associated with each ISE youth program to cover curriculum development, printing, youth registration systems, communications with collaborating agencies, youth or parents, and supervision of programming by ISE's certified teacher.  As is standard in the industry, ISE asseses a 17% amin costs for our programs.

The following information breaks out some sample costs for a few sample ISE youth serving programs, and also provides a ratio of youth commonly served in terms of numbers.

Spring Break Camp and Summer Camp Collaboratives; Theatre Division (for at-risk/multicultural youth): Week-long inner city camps held in collaboration with Gateway Dance Theatre, in which ISE provides all theatre tract classes, culminating in an end-of-camp performance showcase for the community.  Featuring ISE's “Page to Stage” program where youth both write and perform their play for an audience.  STAFF TIME:  10 hours for one week of classes by MFA certified teacher, 5 hours (1 hour per day) of planning, 3 hours for all-team collaboration. 2 hours for performance.  For original curriculum development, add 40 hours. All conducted by MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and 1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 30 on average per Camp

ISE Youth Immersion Programs (for gifted and talent youth): A Pre-professional program.  Youth work alongside adult actors in ISE shows, with special coaching from our Director.  Youth in these shows participate in all professional meetings and company decisions.  STAFF TIME:  3 hours a week of coaching by MFA certified teacher, 7 weeks of project, 3 hours for all-team collaborations with parents. 10 -20 hours for performance.  All conducted by MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 4 on average per year

ISE FREE programs for Military Youth and Families: Incollaboration with Terrace Hill, during our Christmas show ISE provides free seats for Iowa Military Families, including a special welcome presentation where the Governor speaks and ISE actors and staff present to the families in various ways.    STAFF TIME: 1 hour of collaboration, 2 hours of performance, 1 hour of prep time, 13 different Actors involved.  All conducted under the auspices and supervision of an MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 15-25 on average per year

(NEW in 2013) ISE Miss Iowa, Miss Young Iowa, Tiny Miss Iowa (and related Miss Greater Des Moines Scholarship programs) – under current development:  ISE is buttressing their the performance component of these programs. STAFF TIME:  1 hours a week of coaching by MFA certified teacher, 2 weeks of project, 3 hours for all-team collaborations. 4  hours for performance.  All conducted by MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: anticipated to be 5 -15 on average

(NEW in 2013) ISE component of RunDSM Poetry collaborative (serving 7 area Jr. Highs- this is a major city-wide summer camp and year-round initiative which just won substantial United Way funding for excellence.) ISE places youth in pre-show slam poetry competitions at the festival, and works to help the youth develop Shakespearean themes for their original poems.  STAFF TIME:  1 hours a week of coaching by MFA certified teacher, 2 weeks of project, 3 hours for all-team collaborations. 4  hours for performance, 4 hours for in school workshopos.  All conducted by MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 7 on average in intensives, with 4  workshops serving 30 youth each.  Total of 7 youth on average.  

Special on-site traveling shows (ie at Boys and Girls Club) STAFF TIME:  3 hours for all-team collaborations. 4  hours for performance, 4 hours for in school workshops.  All conducted by MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 200 on average with traveling performanes, with 4  workshops serving 15 youth each. Total of 260 youth per travelling show.

Special on-site teaching intensives (inc intern-based teaching programs) held directly in schools for a one to two month duration, meeting teaching accreditation requirements and/or AEA Teaching Standards, such as our residences at Moulton Elementary, Scavo Alternative High School, Youth Emergency Services and Shelter (all in Des Moines) and out of Des Moines, such as Marshalltown Public School District. STAFF TIME:  6 hours for all-team collaborations. 4 -8 hours for performance, 4 -8 hours for in school workshops.  All conducted by BS.ED mulitply certified liscensed state of Iowa Teacher certied as a national Shakespearean Teaching artist by Folger National Shakespeare Library in Washinton DC plus MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 30 on average per Intensive

Cross-disciplinary arts programs or camps, such as residency at the Des Moines Art Center, where in his most recent residency there, ISE Artistic Director Lorenzo Sandoval infused 3 dimensional theatrical interpretations (and helped youth create such interpretations) into Art Center presentation of themes from its two dimensional painting artists, working with internationally famed Artist Enrique Chegoya.  STAFF TIME:  2 hours for all-team collaborations. 5 hours for performance, 10 hours for prep time.  All conducted by MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 10 on average

Day-long Youth Arts Workshops (often coordinated thru either Metro Arts Alliance, Very Special Arts Iowa, or through our listing as rostered Teaching Artists with the Iowa Arts Council.) The subject matter for these workshops can range from “Theatre Schmeater” (for pre-school children) to Bard-a-palooza (for high school youth). STAFF TIME:  2 hours for all-team collaborations. 1-2 hours for performance, 3 hours for prep time, 6-8 hours of teaching time. All conducted by MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and 1 national agency. NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 25 (1 class)  – 125 (5 classes) on average  

IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE FESTIVAL:

Youth Workshops at Des Moines Public Library (often coordinated thru either Metro Arts Alliance, Very Special Arts Iowa, or through our listing as rostered Teaching Artists with the Iowa Arts Council.) The subject matter for these workshops can range from “Theatre Schmeater” (for pre-school children) to Bard-a-palooza (for high school youth)  Alternative subjects can include “Ask an Actor” program and any number of various workshops on the craft and art of theatre and acting or directing, including set design, playwriting, and costume design. . STAFF TIME:  1 hour for all-team collaborations. 1-2 hours for workshop, 2 hours for prep time and training artist subcontractors, Requires 3-4 rtists to implement.  Lead artist is MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency.  Associate lead teacher is  All conducted by BS.Ed mulitply certified liscensed state of Iowa Teacher certied as a national Shakespearean Teaching artist by Folger National Shakespeare Library in Washinton DC.  Other subcontractors typically have a BFA and are practicing theatre artists active in the field.  NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 10-50 (Varies widely according to the Library branch locaiton and time of day when this is held.

Youth and Family Night at the Festival:  A Varitey of pre-show activities that take place on the stage on a Youth and Family Night.  Activites are conducted by Artist Subcontractors (typically with a degree) and range from story hour which presents an interactive youth version of the mainstage show where youth handle props and costumes to backstage tours or pre-orpost show talk backs.  All youth also get VIP front row seating.  STAFF TIME:  1 hour for all-team collaborations. 1-2 hours for workshops, 2 hours for prep time and training artist subcontractors, Requires 3-4 rtists to implement.  Lead artist is MFA multiply-certfied bi lingual Teacher of the Year Teacher with about 2 decades of teaching experience in all age levels, certfied and rostered as specifically a Teaching Artist by 2 local agencies, 1 state agency, and .1 national agency.  Associate lead teacher is  All conducted by BS.ED mulitply certified liscensed state of Iowa Teacher certied as a national Shakespearean Teaching artist by Folger National Shakespeare Library in Washinton DC.  Other subcontractors typically have a BFA and are practicing theatre artists active in the field.  NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED: 30-40 youth each day this is held. 

REGARDING DIVERSITY

DISCUSSION AND BREAK OUT OF ISE DIVERSITY INITIATIVES

ISE DIVERSITY PROGRAMMING – INTRODUCTION  

ISE youth programs are best discussed in association with ISE programs, practices, policies and areas of expertise involving diversity.

ISE buttresses all the programs that we have discussed under our youth section with special passion when it comes to diversity, which we celebrate by both full intent AND example. 

It is highly relevant to this discussion that from our founding, our mission statement has had explicit intent to serve diverse populations built right into it

Excerpt from ISE Mission Statement:

ISE seeks to "open classic works to the Diversity of American Populations"

HOW DO WE MEET OUR MISSION? For starters, we're one of the VERY few local arts agencies directly led by a person of color  -not to mention an MFA (doctoral level artist) of color! 

We not only provide programs bi-lingual in Spanish or infused with Spanish, but utilizing research which shows that written policies do guide organizational actions, we also elevate as written ISE policy “color-blind” casting: virtually 100% of ISE shows feature 1-4 minority (typically degreed) Artists.

ISE auditions do aggressively include people from diverse countries and ethnicities – hence, ISE stages end up to “look like” a diverse population of Iowans. 

Reaching out to Broad, New and Underserved Audiences:  The works which ISE presents have significant cross-cultural reach (to a degree often startling to those who assume that Shakespeare is merely “English” or “upper crust”)! 

  • In the US, freed slaves produced the Bard for those still enslaved, but Shakespeare is also a bona fide staple studied and performed in ALL the countries Iowa draws immigrants from.
  • From Mexico to India to Asia, Shakespearean works are highly recognizable–a true bridge between and to diverse cultures.  
  • Immigrants will recognize Shakespeare when they recognize no other artists produced in America; immigrants can converse about Shakespeare with native-born Americans or each other, in a way they may be unable to about any other artists. 
  • In short, Shakespeare is a unique bridge.

ISE seeks diversity in all areas, looking beyond issues of skin color or ethnicity diverities to seek also diversity in cross-generational service to age groups and to diverse populations in terms of their cultural backgrounds and economic backgrounds.

DIVERSITY ACROSS AGES: The works which ISE presents also have broad cross-generational reach. Shakespeare is one of the very very few art forms revered by peoples of all ages, all over the world.  Age-wise, Goth and Steampunk styles plus the hit TV show The Tudors make the Bard a rage for teens. The 20-30 set enjoy exploring the classics while relishing our festive, European-style picnic-and-wine-bar environment.  Families savor soaking in FREE classics; exposing their children to the world's greatest cultural brand. Yet also relishing classics and the Bard is the (per the Tomorrow Plan) the Metros single fastest-growing group:  those over 55 – a group expected to steadily grow in size in the Metro for almost 3 more decades.  Additionally enjoying the classics are our oldest, also fast growing: the Seniors (often completely relegated to the cultural margins.)

BARRIER-FREE OUTREACH FOR DIVERSITY IN INCOME: ISE's mission to keep our summer festival Mainstage shows free (and to offer winter free shows for Iowa Military families) is done explicitly to ensure we reach out to serve economically diverse audiences, especially those for which ticket prices would be a barrier. 

INHERENT OUTREACH BEYOND THE CULTURAL ELITE: By staging both traditional as well as alternative interpretations of Shakespeare, we explicitly aim to serve a broad cross section of the population – from those experienced with the arts to newcomers of all types.  Further, as sheer entertainment, Shakespearean & classic works are unusually open to a variety of interpretations, drawing crowds time and again to see the latest versions. ISE’s cutting-edge adaptations fuel this fire. Our shows are lush: live music & sizzling dance keep our Des Moines project up to speed with world-class theatric trends …while (as our mission statement says)the infusion of dance and music into our shows (just as Shakespeare did) has the overall effect of  reaching out and opening these works to new audiences –who are drawn also to pre-show concerts & more!  For outcomes, see infra.

Too, our festival's central downtown location is easily walkable for many and very well served by bus lines, removing yet more barriers to encouraging diverse attendance. Indeed, we do frequently find that people just “walk up” to us.   Contrast this to the secluded or even fairly prohibitive locations of some of our Metro's cultural institutions, which either tend to require a car, or which even may be located in elite neighborhoods - -which research shows that in itself, can be significantly off-putting or intimidating  (ie “too high falutin') to diverse groups.

IN SUM:  ISE ACTIVELY IMPLEMENTS OUR PROGRAMS EXPLICITYLY IN SUCH WAYS AS TO SEEK OUT AND SUPPORT DIVERSITY:

In addition to the inherent outreach to diverse populations which ISE provides, and to our various policies that aggrestively support a variety of elements regarding diversity, we also have various programs for promoting particular types of ethnic diversity, age diversity, and economic diversity. 

  • As funding permits, we teach not only youth programs but programs at both area Senior Colleges. 
  • We take traveling shows into various area neighborhoods to serve people directly in their backyards, especially including disenfranchised neighborhoods. 
  • We aggressively offer bi-lingual capacities.
  • We offer pre show talks (including programs where people of color provide Talk Backs about diversity-focused interpretations of Shakespeare, and under this program we have reached out specifically to the Make Me a World Festival, to the area's Latino Leadership and Allianza, and to the Asian Alliance.) 
  • So for but one example as to how ISE celebrates diversity by both intent and example, in 2013 our capacity and intent for outreach will be particularly noticeable in our Mainstage show, which represents a special project partially funded in support of Diversity by the Iowa Arts Council.  This project will set a Shakespeae play that specifically tells a story of skin-color prejudice in Old Mexico, with the storyline that involves prejudice changed to a Latino-centric story line so as to illuminate contemporary Iowa issues of immigration.  The play is cast with 2 persons themselve Latino in key lead roles, and one of these person is herself a direct immigrant from Mexico here in Iowa to study at the doctoral level in theatre at the University of Iowa.  Clearly, we sought out an artist such as this to help illuminate issues of diversity on many levels through this play, which is a demonstration of both our capacity and our commitment to diversity issues. And, although this is a Festival Mainstage play, the play will be deliberated infused with Spanish language touches ( and presented without undue fanfare about that) as a regular part of our Mainstage lineup.  This play lives, breathes, celebrates and grows diversity on every level possible, and ISE is proud of our work in this area.

SAMPLES OF ISE DIVERSITY OUTCOMES:

Generally, our festival self-registration system shows that we are doing

a particularly good job of reaching broad audiences. 

MEASURES OF OVERALL DIVERSITY AT ISE's FESTIVAL:

From the beginning, we have felt that our reach shows the ideal balance: 

  • About 1/3 of those at the summer festival self-identify as being “NEW” to Shakespeare
  • About 1/3 self-identify as having “SOME FAMILIARITY” with Shakespeare, and the
  • Remaining 1/3 self-identify as being “EXPERT” or “VERY FAMILIAR” with Shakespeare.
  • ISE is hitting on all cylinders!

 BREAK OUT REGARDING OUR IMPACT:  DIVERSITY AT ISE'S FESTIVAL:

ISE offers festival attendees the chance to self-register personal information for drawings for prizes or for newsletter sign up.  While we are unaware of any place in public Metro data banks where information about our colleagues level of ethnic diversity, age-related diversity, or economic diversity is made available for comparison, initial basic examination of our own data leads us to believe our festival to draw notably diverse audiences highly likely to be more diverse than audiences for standard paid-ticket theatre shows or for other mainstream arts events, unless those shows themselves contain a specific ethnicity theme or explicitly outreach component such as the Latino Festival or Make Me a World. 

In addition to our own internal analysis of data (which due to our small capacity as a start-up, can only go so far at the present point in our development) another reason why we believe our free festival is likely to serve more diverse ethnicities stems from the groundbreaking new study from the National Endowment of the Arts ("Live from Your Neighborhood" Nov 2011), which specifies that across America, Festivals draw and serve decidedly more minority populations than do other types of arts events. 

Further, ISE has aimed to draw diverse audiences in terms of their experiences with the Bard.  Our festival self-registration system shows that we are doing a particularly good job of reaching broad audiences, as shown in the data above. 

DIVERSITY IN ISE YOUTH PROGRAMS: 

ISE youth programs are often -even typically -conducted with inner city youth, such as with the Upward Bound program, Boys and Girls Club programs, or Gateway Dance Theatre youth.  Thus, many of our youth programs (the majority) average 80-95%  minority in terms of ethnicity make up.  Note that we do many programs either with Spanish translation or Spanish infusion.

It is relevant therefore to note that both ISE lead staff are specifically certfied by the State of Iowa in Multi-cultural Teaching Competancies.

ISE ALSO SERVES ADDITONAL UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS:

ISE also reaches out to other often underserved populations, beyond diverse ethnicities. 

  • First, the Fest provides full wheelchair access, handicapped golf cart access to serve the mobility challenged, & FREE city hearing-assist devices to serve the hearing impaired. 
  • Second, in today's Boomer and Young Professional dominated market, our very oldest citizens (Seniors), who are often relegated to the cultural margins, are also well served by our free Festival which tends to present classics they already revere.  Our free festival is particularly welcome to Seniors on Fixed Income budgets.
  • Third, as noted above, ISE explicitly serves a diverse socio-economic population, with our committment to keeping our Mainstage shows free.

 

 

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