In keeping with eighteen years of outreach in the Chautauqua Lake Central School District, Chautauqua Institution has recently launched several school residency  programs in Chautauqua County classrooms.

Under the direction of Associate Director of Programming Deborah Sunya Moore, who also serves as a National Workshop Leader for the Kennedy Center, programs are currently being implemented in area elementary schools to foster arts integration strategies and learning.

Aspects of Moore’s programminghave been highlighted in the Jamestown Post-Journal. Article are reprinted here.

The Art of Play

The Art Of Play
Area Third-Graders Learn Playwriting Concepts Through New Program

November 6, 2014
Gavin Paterniti, Post-Journal

You can access the article at the Post-Journal website here:

Thanks to a new program sponsored by Chautauqua Institution, area elementary school students are learning the basic elements of playwriting from inside their own classrooms.

The Young Playwrights Program, currently in its inaugural run, spent the week inside third-grade classrooms at Chautauqua Lake Elementary School and Fletcher Elementary School teaching students the method behind writing their own plays, as well as how to apply these principles to other areas of their education.

The Young Playwrights Program was conceived by Chautauqua Institution as a way to expand its educational programming into a year-round format outside of its traditional nine-week season during the summer months. According to Deborah Sunya Moore, associate director of programming, the program exemplifies Chautauqua Institution's commitment to the surrounding community.

"This is part of a larger goal that Chautauqua Institution has," Moore said. "A year ago, we looked at our strategic plan, and part of that is to serve the CHQ community outside of the gates and grounds and outside of our nine-week season. We felt the best way to do that was to reach out to schools, and act as an arts and education resource for them.

"We really want to foster arts learning in the schools," she continued. "So, while we're not replacing the need for music or classes of any type, we can model for schools how to integrate that into the classroom for other types of learning in other subjects."

The program is also presented in conjunction with Florida Studio Theatre, a contemporary theater company based in Sarasota, Florida, with which Chautauqua Institution has partnered. Florida Studio Theatre agreed to collaborate on the Young Playwrights Program as its message aligns with that of the Florida group's own Write A Play program - an in-school outreach initiative designed to inspire students to be creative and to write plays.

The goals of the Young Playwrights Program are achieved through a three-phase process.

The first phase includes an in-class residency, which took place this week, in which members of the Florida Studio Theatre spent Monday through today alternating between Fletcher's five third-grade classes and Chautauqua Lake's three third-grade classes. The residency included: the reading and performance of two 1-3-minute plays previously written by other students who have participated in the Write A Play program; the teaching of improvisation; as well as basic elements of playwriting such as formulating a plot, setting and dialogue.

The Florida Studio Theatre members who performed in the residency included: Kate Alexander, associate director of the company; Matt Ebling; and Christianne Greiert. Alexander said the techniques employed by the actors and herself are intended to draw out the students' creativity.

"Improvisation is at the heart of (the Write A Play program)," she said. "It's how we inspire the students' imagination."

According to Maria DeJoy, principal of Fletcher Elementary School, the two days which the three Florida Studio Theatre members spent at her school have had a tremendous impact on both students and teachers in terms of finding new ways to excite and inspire learning in the classroom.

"I have never seen our third-graders so excited and motivated as I did on Monday," DeJoy said. "The actors tapped into (the students') creativity and imagination, and our kids finally understood that they can use their imagination to create something from it. They are so excited to write these plays, because seeing their own ideas come to life in these plays is what really motivates them. So, this is a wonderful experience for the students and the teachers, as well."

The second phase of the program will include a winter play-reading workshop in which the plays written during this week's in-school residency will be read and acted out by volunteers from the Chautauqua Play Readers at Chautauqua Institution on Jan. 28 and 29.

Moore said approximately 200 plays will be read during this time, and four plays, two from each school, will be selected for production and a live performance by the Chautauqua Theater Company in June - constituting the third phase of the program. The selected plays will also be published by Chautauqua Institution online. Additionally, all plays originating from the residency will also be sent to Florida Studio Theatre for submission into the company's annual Young Playwrights Festival.

For more information about the Young Playwrights Program and its participating entities, visit Chautauqua Institution online at, and Florida Studio Theatre at