Yard Dramas/Jennifer Ridgway

  • About the Artist:

    Jennifer Ridgway is a Theatre Teaching Artist who consults on creative, arts-making, and -learning experiences that bring artistry to life, amplify everyday stories, promote empathy, create positive change, and foster community joy. Jennifer holds an MFA from UNC-Greensboro and an Arts/Culture Strategy certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with various institutions, big and small, including the Maryland State Department of Education, Lucy School, and Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre Programs, and directed productions in the US and China. As a co-founder of the Teaching Artists of the Mid-Atlantic, Jennifer empowers, supports, and advocates for teaching artists. In 2020, she launched Yard Dramas, collaborating with clients to create customized, interactive, community-minded, often outdoor, creative experiences using theatre, puppetry, music, and dance to bridge connections, increase learning, and generate new ideas, pathways, and solutions.


    • Theater

    Type of Programs Offered

    • residency
    • workshop
    • auditorium
    • Learning Through Dramatic Process


      Looking for an in-classroom theatre-learning and theatre-making program tailored to your specific needs? Look no further! Jennifer develops a one-time or multi-session program to meet your unique classroom needs and learning goals using storytelling, theater, puppetry, music, and dance. Programs are age-appropriate experiences that engage individuals in the creative process, ranging from developing acting tools, such as transformation and improvisation, to devising a process drama to performing a theatrical work.

      Jennifer works with the community to develop imaginary worlds where all participants explore a particular problem, situation, or theme (usually curriculum-based). Programs can be inspired by an educational, fun, and historical field trip, be motivated by standards-based research, and develop through collaboration and discourse. Participants play various roles, engage in theatre artist strategies and techniques, and critically reflect on the dynamics, relationships, and conflicts that shape the situations and context of our communities, nation, and world. This is personal, immediate, and active learning where students become storytellers of their own lives and agents of change!

      The result? A program for educators and learners that awakens connectivity, encourages empathy, fosters curiosity and lifelong learning, and nurtures an appreciation for our individuality while emphasizing our collective impact to shape the world and inspire our future!

      Yard Dramas welcomes educators, students, and families who seek to open new doors, enhance teaching and learning experiences, and embrace growth in every sense.

      Appropriate Grade Levels:
      PreK-8th Grade

      Curriculum Connections

      Jennifer develops a program aligned with your science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and literacy standards! She enjoys combining her role as an Anacostia Watershed Steward and Climate Reality Leadership Corps member with art and critical literacy and is guided by her expertise in social-emotional learning.

      This program is offered as:

    • Interactive Performance Programs


      Jennifer's interactive performance programs are stories that promote social-emotional learning in early childhood, elementary, and family audiences. The programs feature seasonal and nature-related content.

      Performance titles include:
      Gotta Go to Mexico: A Story about Señorita Mariposa - This program is designed for spring and fall, as pollinators migrate in and out of their habitats.
      Let There Be Light: A Story about the night sky - A perfect story for the winter solstice months that aligns with constellation and space studies.
      Reach out to learn about Jennifer's other titles!

      Appropriate Grade Levels:

      Curriculum Connections

      Gotta Go to Mexico: Social-emotional learning, Gardens, Life-Cycles, Pollinators
      Let There Be Light: Social-emotional learning, Space, Constellations

      This program is offered as:

    • Professional Development (In-Person or Virtual)


      articipants of my PDs enhance teaching, learning, connecting, and communicating by applying professional theatre strategies!
      Options include:
      1. Drama and Emotions: Theatre strategies that integrate academic and SEL learning - Students experience a range of emotions as they interact with their peers, teachers, caretakers, and environment. These emotions stem from everyday experiences and affect their ability to empathize, build healthy relationships, and learn and recall core academic learning goals. This participatory workshop explores how adults can use role play and drama in the classroom to help young children recognize, label, understand, and regulate emotions. Learn how to facilitate dramatic play so participants can discover themselves, build their observation skills, engage their senses, and allow for a rehearsal of life.

      2. Imaginary Play to Design Shared Futures - Develop a practice for devising a theatrical encounter that explores a task, decision, or place and allows participants to imagine and design the future as a rehearsal for life. This process can be applied in a school classroom or in the business world!

      3. Elevating Play for Families: Imagine Like An Actor - Elevate your child's innate instincts to play by investigating children’s literature like an actor would a script! The dramatic process expands on the scientific investigation method and the engineering approach, develops empathy, and fosters curiosity and lifelong learning.

      4. Theatre in the Elementary Classroom: Five Tips for Switching from Panic to Play
      Let’s break down the professional theatre-making process into easy-to-use sequential steps that offer practical tips you can start using right away in the elementary classroom. Use theatre vocabulary and various dramatic strategies to create a safe, low-risk learning environment for students and teachers.

      5. Acting Outdoors: Nature-Based Dramatic Play - Learn how to transform an observation into a story, a dramatic story into an outdoor science experiment, and create outdoor site-specific theatre! Ignite your student’s imagination and develop their curiosity to understand and learn about the environment, nature, and science.

      Appropriate Grade Levels:

      Curriculum Connections

      Programs are linked to the MSDE Fine Arts Theatre Standards and will be tailored to each community's needs and goals.

      This program is offered as:

    • Booking Details

      Program Costs:

      Arts Learning and Making Experiences start at $300

      Interactive Performance Programs start at $500

      Professional Development Programs (in-person and virtual) start at $600

      Travel requirements or restrictions:

      If I can't bring my Yard Dramas wagon to you by foot, travel (including mileage and transportation) costs will be applied.

  • Artist's featured work:

    Artist's videos:

  • Name or Art Agency:
    Jennifer Ridgway
    [email protected]
    State / County:

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