Workman High School, located in City of Industry, CA, has inventive and growing theater and dance programs under the leadership of Meghann Kraft. In the 5 years that she has been teaching there, she has successfully brought back both programs, which had previously not been available to Workman students for almost a decade. Grosh had the privilege to speak to her and to learn moreabout the exciting work she is leading at Workman High School.
Workman High School (WHS) serves a high population of English language learners, foster and homeless youth, and 89% of enrolled students are a part of the free/reduced meals program. Ms. Kraft remarked that when she came to WHS, “there was a great need for [theater and dance], but the students didn’t know what to make of it at first.” She has done a remarkable job of drawing out the resiliency and talent in these young people by pushing them to dream big and creatively solve problems. For instance, their upcoming Spring show is an adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Instead of performing at the school in their theater, they are planning to perform it outside at a local community site, setting the stage “in the round”, and having the audience sit at tables as if they are attending Alice’s tea party. She is also pushing her students to think through how to execute more challenging scene work, like how to portray Alice falling down the rabbit hole when they’re outside in daylight without traditional theater lighting.
Ms. Kraft also teaches dance at Workman High School. She focuses on teaching her students concepts of time, space and energy, as opposed to strongly stressing technique. This frees her students up to create and think about movement and expression. Recently, they had the opportunity to perform at a local community 1920’s festival. They choreographed an 8 minute piece based on Diego Rivera paintings from that time period. The specific pieces of art they drew inspiration from depicted the unrest in Mexico and the challenges laborers experienced during that era. Ms. Kraft does an amazing job bringing relevance to what her students are learning!
Grosh is proud to award the Grand Prize of the Grosh Cares Grant to Workman High School Theatre and Dance. They have received a $2000 cash award and $500 credit towards hand painted or projected backdrop rentals. Congratulations!