Signature in the Schools

Signature in the Schools presents 12 Million Footsteps

February 26 and March 5 at 7:30PM.

“Tell me about a complicated man.
Muse, tell me how he was wandered and was lost.”
The Odyssey
Homer (translation: Emily Wilson)

January 27, 2017. An executive order signed by the President sends three complicated and lost individuals wandering on their own homebound odysseys. As one searches for his lost father, another searches for his detained uncle and another searches for connection to her faraway home. Searching for hope and for home, their lives become entwined with Homer’s ancient text in beautiful and life-altering ways. This original play, written by acclaimed writer and director Joe Calarco, continues Signature in the School’s tradition of exploring serious issues with exciting theatricality.

Featuring a cast and crew of Arlington Public High School students.

Ticket reservations are available beginning February 12 and are strongly recommended. More information about ticket reservations will be posted in the next few days.

What is Signature in the Schools?

Signature in the Schools, Signature Theatre’s flagship education program, is a multifaceted program that encompasses workshops for English, Social Studies and Theatre classes, theatrical training for young artists, and the creation of an original play. The play is directed, designed and written by Signature artists and features a cast and crew of Arlington high school students and an Equity actor.

Signature in the Schools: The Play

The centerpiece of the Signature in the Schools program is the production of an original play written by Joe Calarco. The play is specially tailored to the personalities and abilities of the student performers and focuses on themes from Arlington Public Schools social studies’ curriculum.

Students not only make up the cast of the production, but also work as crew, stage managers and occasionally even as co-designers. All students, whether onstage or off, are mentored by professionals and are held to the highest professional standards. Before rehearsals with the completed script begin, all cast and crew go through “Boot Camp,” a process where students engage critically with the historical subject matter of the play and develop strong theatrical and ensemble skills.

A professional actor always joins the student casts onstage as a colleague and mentor. Past actors that have participated in the program include Natascia Diaz, Erin Weaver and Nancy Robinette.

“Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide…many cities did he visit…moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his life and bring his men home…” Thus begins Homer’s The Odyssey. This year’s Signature in the Schools play draws parallels between this classic work and the sufferings by sea that millions of Syrian refugees have made and are making. As these parallels are explored, questions about who the United States has and hasn’t allowed into its borders at different times are inevitably asked. With its newest play, Signature in the Schools continues its tradition of bringing difficult subjects alive by connecting them to history, politics and literature.

Signature in the Schools: Performances

Student matinee performances will be at 10:15AM on February 23, 26 and March 1, 2, and 5. Tickets for all performances of Signature in the Schools are completely free. Arlington Public Schools receive free bus transportation for student matinees. Reservations for student matinees will be available beginning September 7, 2017. To reserve seats for your school group, email or call 571 527 1854.

Public performances will be on February 26 and March 5 at 7:30PM. Reservations for public performances will become available in February.

Signature in the Schools: The In-Class Experience

Signature in the Schools performs five student matinees each year. Participating classes receive:

- Individual copies for each student of an in-depth resource guide.

- A free tickets to the performance.

- Free transportation to and from Signature Theatre (Arlington Public Schools only).

Additionally, participating teacher’s may request free workshops by Signature Theatre’s acclaimed Education Department. Workshops in the past have covered a wide variety of topics, including:

- Historical subject matter of the play

- Media literacy

- Collaboration

- Basics of theatrical staging

To book a workshop with a Signature Education artist, e-mail To establish a residency at your school, visit In School Residences.

SigWorks in the Schools

Continuing Signature’s ongoing commitment to the rising generations of theatre artists, SigWorks in the Schools focuses on burgeoning high school playwrights. Exclusively for Arlington Public Schools high school students, five young writers are chosen to go through a 5-session playwriting course led by a professional playwright, culminating in an evening of staged readings performed by professional actors.

Apply to participate in the 3rd Annual Arlington Public Schools & Signature Theatre Playwriting Competition!
Students selected to participate will work with a professional playwright to create a 10-minute play that will be presented in a staged reading by professional actors on April 10th.

Application Deadline: Friday, February 9

How to Apply

Email typed single page with:

  • Student’s full name (first and last)
  • School/Current Grade
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number

Include a 3-page writing sample and send full application to