Do you know why the Minutemen wore tri-corner hats? Students who attended The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere performance sure do…thanks to our Set the Stage docent Rachel Zierdt. A retired teacher of 38 years, Zierdt conducts pre-show classroom visits for students scheduled to attend school shows.
“During the colonial times when men fought with muskets, they wore tri-corner hats because they were much less apt to fall off than a hat with a round brim,” explains Zierdt.
As a Set the Stage docent, Zierdt prepares students for the performance they’ll soon be seeing. Her 15-minute classroom visits often feature artifacts and other hands-on tools, such as a hunk of black tea (similar to the kind used in the Boston Tea Party)… or a tri-cornered hat.
“It’s a short visit, but we achieve a lot. Students gain a sense of context. So when they arrive at the theater they have a better understanding about the background of the performance, which makes for a much deeper experience.”
In addition to providing context for the performance, Set the Stage docents also help children prepare for the live theater experience. “It’s important to explain the difference between watching a movie and live theater,” said docent Julie Harrelson, who is also a professional singer and mother of a third grader. “It’s thrilling to see how excited the kids are about going to the theater and gratifying to be a part of helping them to have a deeper appreciation for the arts.”
Through programs such as Set the Stage, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts plays a vital role in bridging education and the arts, serving to assist schools with achieving curriculum goals, and helping to build young audiences for the performing arts.
Request a classroom visit or become a volunteer docent
To sign up for a Set the Stage visit to your classroom or to volunteer as a Set the Stage docent, please email Melanie Weir, Education & Family Programs Manager, or call 707.800.7520.