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Trent Arterberry in the Classroom

Discipline: Theatre
Homebase: Sooke
Languages: English
Contact Me: (250) 642-2788 , Email

Trent Arterberry is a performing artist and director who has toured internationally for over four decades. He has completed 10 artist in residency programs over the past four years for Elementary, Middle and Secondary schools. Trent's residencies have involved working with a group of students for two to five weeks to create and stage a show performed for a school or community audience. This year he edited and staged Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, performed by Grades 5 and 6 in the original language. Most recently he worked with Middle school students to create a show based on the theme of the Underdog.


In the Spring of 2013, I approached Trent Arterberry over the possibility of a 10-day artist in residency at Lakewood Elementary School (460 students). For over 10 days Trent worked with 39 Grade 5 students, demonstrating his vision for 10 mime scenes, framed by simple narration. He adapted my initial script into a fast paced 30-minute piece of theatre, alternatively mimed and narrated; in turn, moving, funny and ultimately satisfying. His touch with the students was, at times, almost collegial as they worked toward a shared but always negotiable vision. He managed to get the best out of them as performers by modeling, well-earned praise or simple firm direction when time proved pressing. The whole project was best summed up by an experienced, but known-to-be highly critical colleague, after the final show. 'Now that,' she cooed, 'was just superb.' I really cannot recommend Trent highly enough. Phil Duchene, Instructor of Drama Education, University of Victoria
Trent was the artist in residence at Journey Middle School for the month of January 2017. He taught students theatrical skills, which included mime and drama to interpret stories focusing on the theme of the underdog. Trent's mentorship encouraged participants to use their voices and bodies in a bigger, more creative way than is typical in a classroom setting. Students loved transforming into butterflies, bulls, bees, frogs and buffalos! His teaching process inspired them to collaborate, to improvise, and to take on characters and roles that enlarged their empathy and point of view. By utilizing students' strengths, Trent created a more effective performance, for example one student was a break dancer, so Trent included a dance scene in the script. As the rehearsals progressed students began to take ownership of the dramatic process and started offering insightful ideas and suggestions, which Trent incorporated into the script. The two final performances were a tremendous success and showcased how text can be combined with image, gaze, gesture, movement, music, speech and sound effects to express meaning in imaginative and innovative ways. Journey students enjoyed working with Trent and were genuinely engaged in the development of the theatrical performance. Daisy stated, 'Being in character means that you have to show what the character is feeling. You have to show their emotions.' Brody said, 'It is fun to play the role of someone else... to not be yourself for awhile.' Gemini commented, 'This experience helped me be more comfortable being myself.' Alex reflected, 'Working with Trent has been a privilege and a great opportunity that I will never forget.' I highly recommend Trent Arterberry as a performance artist and teacher. Laurie Gitzel, Literacy Support Teacher, Journey Middle School, Sooke

Project Examples

A Solstice Carol

A modern day reimagining of the Dickens' classic featuring Ebenezer Scrooge as a corporate polluter.

Trees of Peace

Writing and staging with Elementary students, an adaption of the autobiography of Wangari Maathai, with issues around racial and gender discrimination, environmentalism and social justice.

Twelfth Night

Shakespeare's beloved comedy performed in the original language, abridged to 60 minutes.

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