Using Theatre to Teach

By: Hebron Academy
The Hebron Academy community recently enjoyed a performance of The Mystery at Ginger Creek by the Panto-WHAT? Theater Company from New York City. This troupe of two uses physical comedy, circus techniques and themes of education and change in their storylines to teach through theater. Founded by Hebron alumna Ruthie Scarpino (Class of 2004) and Micheal Curtin, Panto-WHAT? Theater Company is an applied arts collaborative that creates interactive, participant-focused performances and workshops.
Scarpino, a native of Portland, Maine, began her acting career while still a student at Hebron Academy. She credits her roles in the musicals Working and Grease, as well as the director, Julie Middleton, for giving her the confidence to channel her artistic energy and setting her on the path towards Panto-WHAT?  “Hebron made me who I am,” she said. “And I’m not just saying that because I’m here, but because it’s true.  Returning to Hebron has been a blast! I got to celebrate current students accomplishments in performance, and share my creative journey with them.”
After graduating from Hebron, Scarpino spent the next four years at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH, where their co-op program gave her the opportunity to apply for grants and work in the field of artistic performance while earning her degree.  Following Antioch, she was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to go to Malaysia.  While not part of her original project plan, she learned to teach Malaysian students to speak and read English using her acting and performance skills. It was then she realized she was onto something special.  She now resides in New York City, and with the Panto-WHAT? troupe, continues to pursue her belief that theatre and movement have the ability to enrich beyond their disciplines. She is ecstatic to bring The Mystery at Ginger Creek to Maine.
The Mystery at Ginger Creek is a slap-stick, interactive murder mystery built to support literacy and critical thinking skills in young people. Using sound-scapes and pantomime, the story is staged so that audience members become part of the action as detectives helping to solve a murder.  The troupe treated Hebron to two performances, as well as a personal presentation to the student body at Community Meeting by Scarpino.  After that meeting, she shared what she would want the Hebron community to take away from her visit. “If I could say one thing to a young person in my audience it's that if you can imagine it you can do it! There is an overwhelming amount of work that goes into achieving any goal. The arts are just as physically, mentally and emotionally demanding as academia or athletics, and necessitate the same focus and drive. ” 
HEBRON ACADEMY | 339 Paris RD P.O.Box 309 Hebron, ME 04238 207-966-2100
Hebron Academy is a small, private, co-ed college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades six through postgraduate located in Hebron Maine. Students from across the United States and around the world are challenged and inspired to reach their highest potential in mind, body, and spirit through small classes, knowledgeable and caring teachers who provide individual attention, and a friendly, respectful, family atmosphere.