Education for the Arts is delighted to sponsor an annual school tour of original story theater productions by Dr. Von and Fran Washington. The stories explore topics such as the African American struggle for freedom, civil rights, and the desire for a quality education. The 2018 tour will run January-April 2018.
As master storytellers, Von and Fran have a great love for storytelling. They use the style of the African Griot and their polished theater skills to conjure living moments from the written page. Moments in time become wondrous, magical, and exciting right before your eyes. They have performed on television, stage, and film in Europe and throughout the United States. They have at least twenty-nine original story theater productions that were written by Von and edited by Fran. In 2009, two of Von’s books, The Journey Begins and Views From My Window, were published. In 2017, they received the prestigious Diether Haenicke Promise of Excellence Award from Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo and a special tribute from the State of Michigan for their work in the schools with Education for the Arts. Their goal is to bring African American history and everyday living situations to life using an entertaining and educational style.
The Washingtons develop their adventurous tales with a 3rd grade audience in mind, but many productions are appropriate for a range of K-12 students. The Washingtons present story theater productions that are best experienced in an intimate performance environment. At the artists’ request, audience size is limited to 250 students per show. Schools may book multiple performances on the same day or on separate days to accommodate larger number of students.
Performances require minimal assistance from schools with equipment and lighting. For details, review the technical requirements.
Scheduling a Performance
The Washingtons are available for booking on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays during January-April 2018. View the brochure to see the shows available during the 2018 tour. All performances run 45-50 minutes including an optional Q&A session. When scheduling, keep in mind that the artists need private access to set-up the performance space at least 30 minutes before the show and need 30 minutes after the show to remove their equipment.
Performance Fees and Payment
Education for the Arts subsidizes the tour to help make it affordable for area schools. The cost is $250 for the first performance plus $100 for each additional performance. Schools will receive an invoice from the Kalamazoo RESA Business Office in April for the amount due on the performance(s).
Watch a performance preview of Langston’s Dream.