Ames School Theater residency links science and arts in Searsmont

Posted:  Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 7:15pm
Share: 

SEARSMONT — Midcoast Bee Week brings pollinator studies straight into the classroom at Ames School in Searsmont. The school's third graders, whose studies include learning about the life cycles of local plants and animals, will be combining their science and literacy learning with the arts while taking part in a theater residency with Piti Theatre Company.

Based in western Massachusetts, Piti Theatre Company has taken Bee Week to communities across New England since 2014. Midcoast Bee Week – and Ames School's residency – is part of the Bee Week North American Tour, the heart of which is Piti Theatre's original musical, To Bee or Not to Bee.

The show combines puppetry, clowning, dance, live music, and lots of audience participation to tell the story of Farmer James who has lost his bees – leaving locals with nothing to eat but gruel. The comic, tragic, and ultimately hopeful story raises awareness of the plight of the honeybee and gives children and adults tools for helping bees thrive in their own communities.

Ames School students will explore both pollinator studies and theatrical performance while learning to be a part of Piti Theatre's school-based production of "To Bee or Not to Bee." The residency's culminating event is a performance of the musical, held at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 20. Additionally, students are invited to join Piti Theatre Company as part of the cast of the community performance of "To Bee or Not to Bee," sponsored by the Belfast Co-op and held at the United Farmers Market of Maine at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 21. Piti Theatre's residency is made possible through funds raised by the school's Parent-Teacher Group.

In addition to acting in "To Bee or Not to Bee," third grade students will study the lifecycles of local pollinators, plan plantings of pollinator-friendly native plants on school grounds, and create micro-habitats to encourage the growth of healthy populations of local pollinator species. All of this innovative, hands-on, and experiential learning will integrate learning across disciplines, allowing students to work towards proficiency in multiple areas.

Community members wishing to see the show can attend the community performance in Belfast. Held from October 13-21st, Midcoast Bee Week is a celebration of local pollinators and their role in our local landscape and food systems. For more information on Midcoast Bee Week and Piti Theatre's residency at Ames School, contact coordinator Robin Huntley at dirigolearning@gmail.com or 441-7501. Further information about the Bee Week North American Tour is available at beeweek.org.