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Support Our Education and Engagement Programs

At the Goodman, we believe storytelling is key to what it means to be a human being. Being able to share stories, to hear stories, to receive stories is vital to artistic development and vital to the creation of community.

Using the power of story, which is at the heart of any theatrical project, we create a physical, emotional, and intellectual space in the lives of our students—from the littlest children to the young at heart—that allows them to engage in conversation, take part in continuous learning, and find great joy in the arts. And when you have someone who appreciates the joy of learning, you’re going to have someone who continues to ask questions, continues to be curious, and continues to be an active citizen of the world.

A gift in support of our Education and Engagement programs is an endorsement of this vision. Please consider becoming a part of our story today.


Support These Programs Today


Core programs at the Goodman are as follows:


Disney Musicals In Schools builds sustainable theater programs in under-resourced public elementary schools. With free performance materials and professional development for participating teachers, this partnership has established sustainable programs to inspire the next generation of diverse storytellers, artists, and audiences.



In the School Matinee Series, Chicago high schools bring theater to life in classrooms with the help of standards-based teacher professional development, arts-integrated curriculum guidance across subject areas, production-specific study guides, and tickets to Goodman Student Matinees. With coaching from the Goodman’s Education Staff, teachers of a range of subjects—from drama to math—fold play content and the arts into their curriculum, creating an experience for their students that not only gives them a rich theater-going experience but also aids in the development of critical thinking skills and sparks curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.



Cindy Bandle Cultural Critics are aspiring writers who learn the ins and outs of professional writing in a free 12-week teen program. After honing their critical voices with weekly discussions, readings, and writing assignments, students go on to learn to shoot short videos, produce audio stories for podcasts, and write for social media sites.



The Playbuild Youth Intensive is a free, seven-week, summer theater arts program for 14 to 18-year-old students in the Chicago area. Led by local theater professionals, participants explore theater skills with real-world applications by weaving together their own stories with those collected from their communities, culminating in an ensemble-driven public performance of original work on a Goodman stage.


The Musical Theater Intensive is a free, seven-week summer pre-professional program for 14 to 18-year-old students in the Chicagoland area. In a space designed to validate their voices, students discover their potential for creativity as they learn the essential elements of musical theater, culminating in a performance on the Goodman’s stage.



The Goodman Youth Arts Council (GYAC) is a leadership development program that brings together alumni of the Goodman’s teen-focused programs as ambassadors for the theater. GYAC members liaise between their peers and the Goodman, curate and host programming and events for young audiences, and volunteer in their communities and schools.



Theater For The Very Young programming offers enchanting and immersive theatrical experiences, specifically for children aged 0-5 and their grown-ups. Young audiences embark on magical journeys that ignite their imaginations and nurture their development through interactive performances, storytelling, and sensory-rich activities. This programming provides a joyful introduction to the world of theater with a focus on creativity, exploration, and connection while fostering a lifelong love of the arts from the very beginning.



In GeNarrations, adults aged 55+ write true personal narrative stories inspired by productions on the Goodman’s stages, while sharpening writing and performance skills over seven weeks. This program, offered free of charge, helps participants share, connect, and support each other, while also envisioning a resilient community beyond the confines of the theater.



In the Context Series, audiences engage in pre-show discussions, post-show talks, behind-the-scenes events, and educational opportunities that offer valuable insights into the themes, creative process, and cultural context of the works of art on our stages. These events foster dialogue and conversation between our artists and our audiences, making space for both community and connection.


In the Arts in Action Series, audiences attend public events connected to the topical issues reflected in Goodman productions—as well as the organizations and initiatives working to address them in the broader community. Each event includes a call to action in the service of others and a hands-on activity to help make our communities stronger.



The Pathways Program creates dynamic, mutually beneficial relationships between the Goodman and partner organizations with a three-year cohort model that encourages the Goodman’s community partners to collaborate and co-create educational opportunities throughout the city of Chicago. This model fosters ongoing improvement and refinement of programming and community engagement offerings for all by using data and feedback to enhance program quality and build positive community impact.


The ACTivation Series invites the public to experience workshops, classes, and community-facing events at the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement. From interactive acting workshops to embodied movement classes, to thought-provoking discussion forums, our programming cultivates a vibrant learning community where participants can explore, collaborate, and grow.