Wheelock Family Theatre: Professional, Accessible Theatre for Families

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Wheelock Family Theatre’s (WFT’s) mission is to provide opportunities for all people to enjoy live theatre, whether it’s onstage or backstage. “This is theatre for families by everybody—multigenerational in the audience and onstage,” says WFT General Manager Shelley Bolman. “You have professional actors working alongside children and students putting together a really finished product that is tackling issues that relate to everybody.”


“This is theatre for families by everybody”


To ensure equal access for the entire audience, WFT shows are captioned, interpreted into American Sign Language, and audio-described for people who can’t see. WFT Costume Designer Charles Baldwin says, “At Wheelock Family Theatre, we put on big, professional shows. The sets, the costumes, the lights, are all done by professionals. What we really want is to have the audience dive deep into the world that we’re creating on stage.”

Being a professional theatre company in residence at Wheelock College in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood is a special advantage, allowing the theatre staff to work closely with Wheelock faculty members specializing in education. In fact, research from Wheelock faculty about early childhood development is woven into the curriculum of WFT workshops and classes. “It’s a unique collaboration,” says Lloyd Woodcock, WFT director of education.

WFT’s education programs include bringing schools on site for a show, as well as going into schools to do a residency. Woodcock says a residency might include providing professional development for teachers that demonstrates ways they can use theatre within the classroom to unlock their own creativity and help students learn.

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