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Middle School Drama Students Explore Diversity in Theater

Posted Date: 05/02/2024

Middle School Drama Students Explore Diversity in Theater

A two-month immersion into the PEACE Project was an eye-opening experience for theater students at Wantagh Middle School. Their study culminated with presentations on cultural representation in 21st Century musical theater. 


Teacher Dr. Kimberly Davis was chosen as a PEACE educator last year, and she partnered this spring with musical theater lecturer Marc Courtade. Eighth graders in her Introduction to Drama elective class worked with Mr. Courtade to study American musical theater history. 


Students then split into groups and researched 21st Century musicals such as “Hairspray” and “In The Heights.” They explored cultural identity and representation within these musicals, and connected to broader themes such as cultural expression, harmony and tolerance. 


The project also connected to their study of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in English and social studies classes. Through the PEACE Project, students explored the contributions of Jewish-American writers and their efforts to incorporate diverse characters and storylines into shows. 


Dr. Davis said the overall goal of the PEACE Project was for students to understand the importance of having a variety of cultural perspectives represented in artistic and creative works. Through the final presentations, students highlighted the impact of diverse storytelling in musical theater. 


WMS Peace Presentations