to enhance self-expression, self-reliance, problem-solving skills, and heighten appreciation for life’s challenges and beauty by bringing great theatre into the great outdoors.
We are guided by the following beliefs:
Artistic creation is fundamental to forming one’s identity, especially for teens in their unique and complex transition between childhood and adulthood. We give kids a safe space to explore themselves through artistic expression.
An ensemble (13 actors) provides an ideal structure for fostering creativity and a sense of community, ensuring personalized attention and significant growth as an artist and individual. By keeping our casts small, TPE is able to provide individualized instruction and an enviable 4:1 student-faculty ratio.
As stated in a 2007 Washington Post article about Traveling Players, “Many kids’ first spiritual encounters take place in nature, where they discover something larger than themselves.” Therefore, we link theatrical work to nature by rehearsing and performing outdoors and by emphasizing nature themes in the plays we produce.
Our goal is to provide an outstanding theatre experience for young adults that will contribute to their maturity and foster a lifelong love of both theatre and the outdoors while meeting rigorous artistic and educational standards. Among our unique attributes is the opportunity for all students to emulate their minstrel forebears by going on tour. This ranges from appearances at local theatre festivals to overnight camping trips with a performance at a regional hospital, library, senior center, or park. Advanced students tour for one to two weeks, camping and performing outdoors in beautiful and historic places, like The Madeira School, Riverbend Park, and Colonial Williamsburg.
Besides the incredible opportunities campers have to mature as actors at Traveling Players, they have the unique experience of uniting great theatre with its original home, the great outdoors. There are many scientifically documented benefits to involving nature in an adolescent’s life, as described in this Washington Post article, excerpted below.
“Ruckert is examining the psychological benefits that exposure to nature brings humans, and to what extent technology can replicate, enhance or negate those effects. Her work builds off interesting earlier research. One example is the biophilia hypothesis, put forth by Edward Wilson in 1984, that asserts humans have a biological propensity to connect with nature. Another, called Attention Restoration Theory, has found evidence that being outdoors is one of the most effective ways to replenish cognitive functions like problem solving and the ability to focus.”
“A majority of executives agree that there is, in fact, a correlation [between arts and workplace success], and they believe the arts have significantly contributed to their own personal career success.”
At their origins, outward bound schools integrated physical and intellectual learning, and combined it with personal responsibility to self and to the group — the origins of ensemble training. Many articles discuss these schools from the early to mid-twentieth century and training, including the following article featured on American Radio Works.
“Every girl and boy has a ‘grande passion,’ often hidden and unrealised to the end of life… It can and will be revealed by the child coming into close touch with a number of different activities.”