ArtPlay Schools


ArtPlay, the ASC's home for education and outreach, nurtures creative growth and self-expression in children and adults through classes, workshops, master classes, residencies, and more. Annually, more than 12,000 people participate in ArtPlay's free or low-cost programs. For more information on ArtPlay and the arts outreach opportunities listed below, please visit or call 205.975.4769.


Meet the Artist Series


Free Daytime Performances for Schools · These one-hour performances allow the ASC to share the arts with students and aspiring young artists by experiencing the thrill of a live performance in a world-class performing arts center. Performers will engage students with anecdotes about their professional training and provide insight into the pieces they perform and the instruments they play.


Attendance Policy · School reservations are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Curriculum Guides are available for all Meet the Artist programs via email. Performances fill up months in advance. In order to accommodate as many students as possible we request that schools only make reservations if they are sure they can attend. Please check your school's testing/holiday schedules for the full year before signing up. Last-minute cancellations keep others from participating in our free educational performances. If a school group must cancel, please do so no later than three weeks prior to the performance date. We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

ArtPlay Teaching Artists on the Road


For the fourth year the Alys Stephens Center offers arts education programs that travel to your school for free! We are thrilled to collaborate with three engaging and enlightening artists: local poet and performance artist, Sharrif Simmons; actor/educator, Quinton Cockrell; and singer-songwriter/educator, Charles Tortorici.



For grades 5 - 12


The Poet's Corner Workshop provides a comprehensive series of creative writing programs. This interactive program focuses on school-age children and students in "at risk" programs. Through the use of poetry and spoken word, students will be given the opportunity to participate in comparative literature while learning about the history of the oral tradition in comparison to contemporary forms of expression like Hip Hop, Theater, and Rhythm & Blues.


The workshop will include:

  • An acoustic guitar poetry performance.
  • An overview of poetic forms.
  • An overview of historical poets.
  • A comparison to contemporary poets.
  • Listening to and reading excerpts from modern poets and popular music.
  • Writing and sharing poems with classmates.


This workshop is generally administered once a week over a six-week period, but an abbreviated version is available in one or more school classes or through afterschool programs. Students are encouraged to use their vocabulary in creative ways and in a variety of mediums including spoken word, poetry, and music. Writing and reference materials will be provided throughout the workshop. At the end of the six-week workshop students will perform a recital with a live band at the school.




For grades 5 - 12


The Make Theatre Happen (MTH) Creative Dramatics Workshop introduces students to the performing arts in an up close and personal classroom format. Students will learn the basics of performance, participate in theatre games, improvisational exercises, concentration exercises, and voice and diction activities, learn theatre terminology and understand the mechanics of character development along with the playmaking process. Students will assist in developing a theatrical ensemble piece which will evolve into a stage play right before their very eyes. Students will get the opportunity to showcase their talents and all that they have experienced during the workshop in a finale showcase performance.


This fun and engaging workshop, which starts with a one woman theatrical performance, is for school-age children whose schools are limited in performing arts programs. Exposure to this program will help encourage healthy self-esteem, develop communications skills, stage presence, self confidence and social skills.

Through theatre, music and dance, students will be taken on a journey that will help them develop cognitive learning skills while becoming more creative, well rounded expressive individuals. Handouts and other materials will be provided throughout the workshop.

Students participating in the MTH workshop will experience:

  • An overview of theatrical terminology
  • A brief overview of the playmaking process.
  • A brief introduction to theatre history.
  • An introduction to theatre games, voice and diction exercises and improvisation.
  • Working together to create and produce a play for a performance which includes the rehearsal process.
  • A closing culminating live performance to be presented before their peers.


This workshop takes place once a week over a six to nine week period, but a condensed workshop can be designed to meet the needs of a specific school or program. Ideal for developing school presentations to celebrate the Holiday Season, Black History Month and Women's History Month, Earth Day or any occasion.




For grades 3 - 8

wa·ter·shed - 1. An area of land through which water, dissolved materials, and sediments flow on their way to a common outlet, such as a stream, river, lake, or ocean. 2. An important transition between two phases.

Kids and grown-ups all over the world are endeavoring to keep our world and our bodies healthy by ensuring the protection of our drinking water. Join educator and singer-songwriter, Charles Tortorici, as he teaches elementary and middle students the importance of a watershed and its interdependent plant and animal species through a series of six classes using creative writing (in the narrative, descriptive, expository, and poetic styles), song, visual art, and creative movement as teaching tools. The final class will be an in-school performance where students incorporate all of their work from the past five weeks into one cohesive performance piece. We recommend booking these programs early in the school year as availability is very limited.




The Robert Redus School of Guitar was born out of a vision from friends and family of the late Robert Clark Redus IV to spread his joy of music. The Alys Stephens Center is proud to bring this program to a select group of students at two local elementary schools. During this year-long program 12 students will have the chance to study guitar from a university level guitar instructor. At the end of the school year, the students will have the opportunity to keep their guitars based on their commitment to lessons, practice, responsibility, and volunteerism. If you are interested in bringing this program to your school call (205)934-6012. Spaces for two schools are available.


For more information, visit, call (205) 975-4769, or E-mail