2015 Student Days at Tao House

Saturday, March 7
Art & Drama

Saturday, March 21
Photography & Writing

There were shouts of “Ice Cream,” “Explosion,” and even “Justin Bieber” as the spirited group of drama teens from nine Contra Costa and Alameda County schools began their Student Days‘ experience at the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in the Danville hills last March.

It was the beginning of an educational program for talented high school Juniors and Seniors in Drama, Writing, Photography and Art as part of the 24th annual Student Days program at Tao House.

Chad Deverman, assisted by John Litten, began Drama Day with exercises designed to “loosen up” the two dozen teens -- both physically and mentally -- to what lied ahead: an introduction to playwright O’Neill’s home and his work, and a very active series of drama exercises and scene work led by the two theatre professionals.

Other similar activities – geared to the student’s interest in Art, Photography and Writing – happened during the two full days of the cultural and artistic enrichment program for creative, mature and committed high school students during March program. The guest instructor for the Photography Day will be led by Lorena Castillo, with Writing Day led by playwright Ignacio Zulueta and Art Day led by Debbie Koonce. Working with these practicing professionals, students develop can their own projects on site with the instructors mentoring the students’ development.

View Student Days Video

Student Days at Tao House brings students with serious interests in Writing, Drama, Art, and Photography to the site where America’s first major playwright created his most powerful work.

Students are welcomed to the site at 9:00 am with a light brunch followed by an interactive tour of Tao House led by an interpretive ranger from the National Park Service.  The tour is designed to introduce students to O’Neill’s life story and his significant impact on world theatre. 

Following the tour, workshops, led by professionals in the respective art forms, give students from as many as fifteen high schools in the Bay Area the opportunity to learn more about their chosen artistic interest.  They then apply their new knowledge in the creation of a work that may later be displayed at Tao House.

During the lunch break, students are treated to a live performance of scenes from O’Neill’s plays.  By the end of the day, students leave Tao House with a deeper appreciation of their respective art forms and an assignment to complete and polish their work for exhibit.

There is no charge to those attending Student Days.  The program is underwritten by individuals and organizations with an interest in providing students equal access to artistic and cultural experiences. The National Park Service provides transportation to the Tao House site. Student Days is supported by the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, the Wood Foundation, and members of the Eugene O’Neill Foundation.





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