Fiddler on the Roof Theatre Arts Residency Project: Bringing themes from Playhouse spring musical to life for OPS high school students

Implemented in the spring of 2006, the Theatre Arts Residency Projects were designed to provide opportunities for collaboration between the Omaha Community Playhouse and high school students. These projects were intended to bring themes or topics from current-season Playhouse productions to life through workshops in disciplines other than theatre arts.

Through these successful collaborations, students in social studies, history, cultural geography, government and political science classes have experienced the impact of live theatre and the ability it has to bring past and current issues and topics to life.

This spring, OCP worked with team of educators and teaching artists to create the "Far From the Home I Love” workshop series based on themes from Fiddler on the Roof. The three day series looks like this:

Day 1: Overview of Anti-Semitism: Students will learn about Anti-Semitism throughout history giving special attention to the time frame in which Fiddler takes place (Russia 1905)

Day 2: Fiddler on the Roof: Omaha Community Playhouse’s 2010 Spring Musical
Students will review the storyline of Fiddler on the Roof and view/discuss clips from the movie musical. These clips will highlight the relationship between the Jewish villagers and the Russian soldiers, Tevye’s struggle to keep his faith and traditions intact, and the expulsion of the villagers from their beloved home.

Day 3: Mock-Relocation Activity: Students will be confronted by modern day examples of restrictions that echo those forced onto the Jewish Community in Nazi Germany. From creating Identity Cards to making lists of what they will take with them when they are forced to leave their homes, the students will examine what traditions – physical, spiritual, religious and cultural - they are willing to let go of and what they are unwilling to compromise.

Led by teaching artists Amy Lane, John Lee, and Rita Paskowitz, this powerful series has impacted students in US History, World History, and Cultural Geography classes by bringing these themes to life through storytelling, multimedia tools, and thought-provoking interactive activities. At the conclusion of these workshops, participating students are invited to the opening weekend of the musical at no cost.

Quote from Diane Dames, Omaha Northwest educator…

“…thank you so much for making this workshop opportunity available to our students!!! It was truly a great workshop experience for them. Amy and John were great connecting the story to the themes of the show, and Rita always impresses me--I love having her work with my students!”

The OCP Theatre Arts Residency Projects are generously funded through the support of Wells Fargo Bank of Nebraska.

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