I love it when science and art come together. Seeing the two worlds merge in spectacular fashion makes me giddy with excitement. That’s why I was thrilled when Storytown Improv came to perform for Science Club kids and mentors at the McCormick Boys & Girls Club in Uptown on April 2.
I've been performing with Storytown since August 2009. We put on improvised musical fairytale adventures for kids every Saturday morning at Stage 773 in Chicago. Science Club is a Science in Society afterschool program. The program partners Northwestern graduate science students with kids at the Club throughout the academic year. Each quarter the mentors guide the kids through science curriculums that explore everything from neuroscience to nutrition.
Bringing Storytown to perform for the Science Club kids and mentors was an opportunity to look at science through a different lens. It gave everyone a chance to trade the lab for a stage, and see how a little imagination, and a lot of enthusiasm, can go a long way.
The Storytown performers put on a science-themed show, complete with lab coats, beakers and dry ice. The cast of characters included a misunderstood scientist, a “swag” dragon and a storm that rains down quesadillas. Many of the kids and mentors had never seen an improv show. And it was fun to see their initial hesitation turn into delight as the show unfolded.
We really hoped Storytown would be able to show the mentors how essential it is to be confident and energetic when working with kids. An after-show workshop gave them the opportunity to put this idea into practice. Storytown producer Jill Olson led the mentors through some basic improv exercises that allowed them to let loose, get out of their heads and just have fun.
I hope we can bring Storytown back to the Club in the future for more exciting adventures!
Photo credit: Bethany Hubbard /SCIENCE IN SOCIETY