Signature in the Schools

What is Signature in the Schools?

Signature in the Schools is a theatrical training program unlike any other. The chance to be in a world premiere production, written, directed and designed by professional theater artists, featuring a professional actor. And beyond all of that, it’s the chance to participate in a theatrical conversation about issues that matter: civic engagement, freedoms of expression, immigration, women’s rights. These are just a few of the topics that Signature in the Schools productions have delved into. The 2020/21 production, Here’s the Deal, explores the New Deal and its contemporary relevance.

Signature in the Schools: The Film

The centerpiece of the Signature in the Schools program is the production of an original play written by a professional playwright. The play is specially tailored to the personalities and abilities of the student performers and focuses on themes from Virginia curriculum for Social Studies, English and Theater Arts.

For the 2020/21 season, Signature in the Schools produced a film that was available to stream at home and in school settings. Set during the current pandemic, Here’s the Deal was filmed almost entirely on the personal devices of cast and crew members through platforms like Zoom and FaceTime.

For the film, students make up not only the cast, but also work as production crew. Participating students represent 17 public high schools from five different Northern Virginia school districts and one private school. The students were mentored by professionals and held to the highest professional standards. Before filming began, all cast and crew participated in “Boot Camp,” a process where students engage critically with the historical subject matter of the play and develop strong theatrical and ensemble skills.

As always, a professional actor always joined the student cast as a colleague and mentor. Here’s the Deal stars actress Felicia Curry.

Signature in the Schools: The Schools Experience

Signature in the Schools is designed for use in high school social studies, English and theatre classrooms, meeting goals of the Virginia Standards of Learning. Participating classrooms receive the following:

• Access to a special website devoted to the subject matter of the show. This website provides lesson plans for teachers and articles and additional resources for students, all designed to comply with Virginia Standards of Learning for English, Social Studies and Theater.

• Free access to the film.

• Optional: Participating classes may opt in for a virtual in-class workshop taught by Signature Theatre Teaching Artists before the students watch the film. These workshops enable students to understand the subject matter behind the play and to voice their own thoughts, feelings and experiences related to the subject matter.

• Optional: Participating classrooms can arrange for a brief virtual Q&A with members of the cast, crew and production company of the film.