The Right Brain Initiative


Artist Details

Caren Graham (Young Audiences)


Book this artist using the Residency Request Form


Goals of this residency are:


  • To expand students’ understanding of history, literature and the world around them by using drama concepts to explore the material from a first person perspective.
  • To find the joy of creativity in new and diverse ways, helping students to be better collaborators and critical thinkers.
  • To create new characters and stories by combining aspects of their curriculum with drama concepts.


I am passionate about introducing students to Drama, the world of “Magic if”, about seeing kids get excited about the process of creative self-discovery. I engage children in kinesthetic activities, helping them make immediate connections between the written word and their imagination. Students work cooperatively during guided practice. They are inspired to “catch the fire of creative invention”! Kids discover new ideas about character and participate in the “learn by doing” style of drama.


Young Audiences teaching artists are committed to inspiring the imaginations of young people and have strategies for working with the complexities of school environments. Through a variety of ongoing professional development opportunities and a multi-faceted evaluation system, as well as through their experience with students and educators, Young Audiences teaching artists are continually growing as teachers and as artists.






“Characters Come to Life” Drama Residency:


I guide students through drama games during which they learn and practice skills from the Actors’ Toolbox.  Using improvisation and writing exercises, I facilitate students creating, refining and performing “Imaginative Characters from History or Language Arts”.


1.  Students will select characters from their history or literature unit.

2.  Students will research characters using non-fiction or fictional sources, and prepare character profiles.

3.  Students will deepen and enhance their character choices using theater exercises.

4.  Group Cooperation:  student actors will create tableaux or “frozen pictures” with their characters, in some cases students have written actual scenes to act out during my drama residencies. Examples include:  citizens preparing for the Boston Tea Party or city hall discussions about the Stamp Tax.

5.  Characters will come to life from the frozen moment in time or an event, students will then have a brief exchange of dialogue and then freeze again (rather like “Night at the Museum”).

6.  Characters will be refined and polished as the groups work on developing their characters with unique personality and physical traits.  They will also need to imagine the sensory elements of the event’s setting, working together as a group and as individual participants collaborating to provide fresh perspectives on their chosen historical event.


Writing Extension:


Students will write a first person narrative or monologue from their characters’ perspective from their respective tableaux events.


“Who? What? Where?”  Elements of a Good Story


Students expand their understanding of literature by creating characters, plot and setting using their favorite stories.


Students will be able to:

  • Make creative choices in developing scripts and telling stories
  • Demonstrate knowledge of drama skills through the use of voice and body
  • Identify and use important vocabulary in the art form in written work and performance


Students will know:

  • Techniques for writing and revising dialogue
  • A range of literacy skills to use as a community of problem solvers
  • Criteria for the elements of drama


“Readers’ Theatre: Leaping into Literacy”


Students improve their reading, listening and presentation skills as they practice their scripts in groups. Each session has goals, including new vocabulary words to learn and practice, at the end of each session we reflect, deciding as a group what we need to work on during the next session. In between my residency sessions, the classroom teacher provides some class time for guided practice during the literacy block.  This aided the students in making a deeper connection between their Drama time, rehearsing the scripts, and the literacy concepts the students were bringing to life. Scripts are developed using the texts being read in class.


Caren can adapt text from any curriculum; possible texts include: Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy, Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux , Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are or Native American tales, classic fairy tales or science and environmental themes.


Arts Content Standards:  Ar.05.CP.01;  Create, present and perform:  “Apply ideas, techniques and processes in the arts”: Increasing word knowledge, vocabulary, be able to listen, read and perform a task from a wide variety of informational and narrative text across the subject areas on own.”


Social Sciences, Multi-cultural :”Understanding of government and how the US deals with other countries, for example, Civil War or the role of the U.S. in the purchase of the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark expedition, relationships with the Native Americans”. Drama connection: Role playing the concept of trade during the Oregon Trail and Westward expansion”.   Lewis and Clark’s maps and diaries:  students could research and then act out problem solving scenarios.



My fee Is $70 per classroom session (50 minutes), and $50 per preparation hour, and per planning & reflection meetings with school.

Depending on the project: Additional costs may apply for production budget, props, equipment rental, and materials.

Travel Costs: Artist may charge for travel costs based on site location.



Questions? Contact your Right Brain Coach.


(503) 225-5900 x231




Raddy Lurie



Alameda Elementary

Jane Harold


James John Elementary


Sue Wilcox



Alameda Elementary


FAQ Arts