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School Programs

At the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, we create connections between the theater and K-12 classrooms. Those magical connections spur conversations and nurture deeper knowledge that comes from experiencing the arts on the Strand Theatre stage.

Bring your students to the theater.

Students and teachers board a bus as they leave the Appell Center.
Percussionists of a step team wait to perform outside the Appell Center
Teenagers double over with laughter on stage.

Our ongoing programs — School Matinees for grades 3–5 and 6–12 and Stage the Page for grades K–2 — are opportunities for schools and teachers to bring students to the theater.

School Matinees
Stage The Page

Bring the theater to your students.

Students happily play with silk scarves in their classroom.

Our teaching artists offer scalable School Programs that bring the theater to your students. These programs have two different tracks:

  • Programs based on our current season family shows
  • Workshops, collaboratively crafted with teachers, based on their students’ specific needs

Our school programming is made possible by the generous support of donors through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC).

School Opportunities

School Matinees

We have expanded our School Programs for the 2023-24 school year! In addition to our annual Stage the Page program for grades K-2, we’re adding two Matinee shows for grades 3-5 and 6-12.

Free tickets and bus subsidies are provided through generous donations through the EITC Program.

Stage The Page — Grades K-2

Children and teachers enter the Strand Theatre

The Stage the Page program inspires and encourages young learners to read while it exposes them to high-quality theatrical productions.

In addition to tickets to the performance, participating schools receive:

  • Copies of the book on which the performance is based
  • A Study Guide that incorporates PA Curriculum Standards
  • Access to bus subsidies to attend the performance at the Appell Center in downtown York
Illustrated image of The Boy Who Grew Flowers, a play performed by the Treehouse Shakers

The Boy Who Grew Flowers For grades K–2

March 19-22, 2024

Treehouse Shakers’ The Boy Who Grew Flowers is a stunning visual performance adapted from the picture book by Mara McEwin and choreographed by Emily Bunning. It is the story of young Rink Bowagon, who lives on top of Lonesome Mountain with his unusual family of rattlesnake tamers and shape-shifters. The townspeople agree that Rink’s family are quite strange, but they are unaware of Rink’s spectacular gifts. Whenever the moon is full, Rink sprouts beautiful flowers all over his body. When a new girl, Angelina, moves to town, Rink’s life truly begins to grow.

Incorporating shadow puppetry, original music, and movement into the play, The Boy Who Grew Flowers is a thoughtful story that lends itself to themes of diversity, creating empathy and celebrating individualism.

Free tickets and books are provided, as well as free and reduced transportation thanks to the generous support of individuals and businesses through the EITC Program.

Contact AJ Myers or Dan Crowell or call 717-846-1111 to reserve your tickets!

School Matinees — Grades 3-5 & 6-12

Magician Bill Blagg performs magic with a metal ring and an audience volunteer.

Bill Blagg’s The Science of Magic For grades 3–5

January 26, 2024

For centuries, magicians have used science to make people levitate in mid-air and vanish in the blink of an eye. Illusionist Bill Blagg’s one-of-a-kind educational experience takes students on a rare, never-before-seen journey “behind the scenes” of the magic world. Students will discover firsthand how magicians use science to create the impossible!

Bill’s comedy-filled, action-packed, presentation is highly interactive and makes science fun and exciting! Students will use the scientific method to levitate one of their teachers in mid-air and even learn how the science of reflection can make their homework magically disappear! In addition, Bill performs some of his mind-blowing, grand-scale illusions with a scientific twist. He caps the show off with an incredible display of the water cycle by making it snow from his bare hands! Students will watch in amazement as science creates magic right before their very eyes.

The Science of Magic is designed to excite, educate, intrigue and encourage students to think “outside the box” and spawn their curiosity about how science and the scientific method are used by magicians to create the impossible.

Photograph of the performers of Step Afrika!

Step Afrika! For grades 6–12

April 12, 2024

Step AfriKa! was founded in 1994 as an exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg. It is the first professional dance company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The Company is one of the top five African American dance companies in the United States. It is also the largest African American-led arts organization in Washington DC and that city’s only cultural ambassador.

Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities, traditional West and Southern African dances and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into a cohesive, compelling artistic experience. Performances are much more than dance shows. They integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation. The Company’s signature blend of technique, agility and pure energy makes each performance unique and leaves the audience with their hearts pounding.

Contact AJ Myers or Dan Crowell or call 717-846-1111 to reserve your tickets!

School Opportunities

The Appell Center and our teaching artists offer a wide variety of programming to schools and other community organizations.

The Appell Center has teaching artists for every discipline who can scale presentations up or down for any class size. We can base school programs on the family shows of our current season OR create workshops centered around your organization’s needs.

2023-24 Programming

Children build PVC instruments during a workshop

Arts and Science Workshops
These workshops connect the arts to science through comedy improvisation, music, science-based magic and more.

Our Arts and Science Workshops are based on the 2023-24 Season School Matinee Bill Blagg’s The Science of Magic.

Stage the Page Workshops
These workshops simulate the experience of attending a live theater performance as part of the Stage the Page program.

Our current Stage the Page program is based on the Treehouse Shakers’ visual adaption of the book The Boy Who Grew Flowers.

Creative Careers!
Back for the the 2023-24 school year, the Appell Center for the Performing Arts is offering hands-on career days for high school students, showing them all the opportunities that exist for creative work
off the stage in live theater.

Career days will be held on February 13 and 14 from 9AM to 2PM at the Appell Center. Workshops will be taught by creative arts professionals, with planned hands-on opportunities in scenic design, voiceover acting, costume design and light and sound design.

Click here to register your student group – up to 30 per registration – or contact with any questions or to pay via check. Individual students are welcome to attend for a small fee, just select “Student” as your ticket type at checkout.


Learn More

Contact AJ Myers or fill out the form below for more information about how to set up a workshop.

In-School Program Contact Form

Thank You Sponsors

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