SPECTRA Teaching Artist
Available only to Schools
Shari Gallegos: Director, Performing Artist, Retired Educator
I have spent my career working in PVUSD. I taught for 20 years. I was a Santa Cruz New Teacher Mentor and an Elementary School Principal for 10 years. I loved every minute of it! However, my real passion was and always has been in the performing arts! I have sung all my life but came late to theater. I was 43 when I began acting! When Cabrillo Stage cast me in Into the Woods as Jack’s Mother, what a treasure that was! The experience was electrifying! I went on to perform in 8 more musicals in and around the Bay Area. If the theater could hold such magic for me, I just knew that bringing the stage, the acting experience to children would be a stepping-stone to bringing literacy to life.
Consequently, I began finding storybooks that would lend themselves to a shared stage experience and created readers theater scripts using the story of a well-loved book. The strongest readers would be the narrators with the caveat that with practice anyone could read the narration. The narrator would read the script while the rest of the children would act out a particular character. The emphasis was on the idea of becoming another personality and exploring ways of communicating that other persona with body, facial expressions and movement. The beauty of this strategy was that it engaged 2nd language learners and helped them to access the text in a fun, non-threatening way.
As an administrator of elementary schools, I brought my love of the performing arts with me. I hired SPECTRA artists to create school musicals around career choices. Additionally, I used the vehicle of a lamb puppet to unravel the mystery and fear of the principal’s office. I found that the smaller children lost their shyness when talking to a puppet and I would use it often when a little one was in distress.
I’ve been retired for 11 years now but continue to perform and learn. Most recently, I have been performing with NSP, (Next Stage Productions) while taking their workshops, classes and summer camps. I was encouraged to see that SPECTRA grants are geared towards advancing programs that highlight the diversity of our community. My goal is to advance the opportunity for senior performers to bring an entertaining piece of theater to school-aged children. We will bring a wonderful piece of literature to life while providing a compelling model of the aging process that is productive, creative, energetic and engaging. Finally, literary engagement can be a challenge to many a young learner, but to quote Emily Dickinson, “It is easy to work when the soul is at play.”
Theatrical Production: Piggie Pie
This is a short, hilarious, little musical, specifically designed for younger children to enjoy, and participate in as they cheer on the piggies to fool the witch.
Beautifully rendered sets designed by local artist Connie Grant.
Costumes designed by professional seamstress and retired teacher, Robin Dearinger.
Original music and lyrics written by Don Adkins.
Choreographer, Michelle Dais
Teachers will be given a copy of a Readers Theater script. They can revisit the play again and again with their own students playing the various characters.