Learning through the Arts

School Shows

The Wells Fargo OnStage School Series features performance groups from across the Richmond region and the Commonwealth of Virginia, often from the Virginia Commission for the Arts’ Touring Artist Directory . Performances are programmed based on a variety of artistic genres and targeted to Virginia SOLs in the arts and other core content areas including English, social sciences and more. Check out our exciting line up for the 2017-18 season, and register your class today!

LILY Y LA MARIPOSA performed by Latin Ballet of Virginia

November 3, 2017, at 10:30 a.m.

Latin Ballet of Virginia's production of Lily y la Mariposa is based on a play by Lucinda McDermott, RPAA’s own Director of Education. Mama Rosa introduces Lily, an 11-year-old girl experiencing loss for the first time, to the Mexican celebration Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which honors the lives of loved ones who have passed. Mama Rosa is indeed magical, and her story of how Dia de los Muertos came to be becomes an interactive journey not only for Lily and her friend Miguel but for the audience as well.


February 16, 2018, at 10:30 a.m.

Celebrate Black History Month with a world premiere opera about Marian Anderson’s rise to fame among the world’s greatest concert artists—in spite of experiencing racial prejudice. Ms. Anderson was an important figure in the struggle for civil rights and met each barrier with courage, grace and determination.

THE MAGIC BALLOON performed by Synetic Theater

May 4, 2018, at 10:30 a.m.

A series of hilarious sketches, unique choreography, synthesizing music, ballet, clowning, and audience participation. ‘Balloon’ tells a wonderful story of a traveling actor and his magical trunk of tricks and toys. Audiences will discover the art of acting without words, opening the door to their imaginations.

Video Production for the Performing Arts

This is a course for high school students (and middle school by recommendation and interview). From setting up a camera to shooting, editing and uploading content, students learn all aspects of video production. They put their skills to use by serving as the crew for many of our live-streamed and recorded events. Endorsed by the Virginia Department of Education, this course is also eligible for Independent Study credit for high school students. 

ELLA (Early Literacy Learning through the Arts)

When you take part in the creation of a story, it becomes real for you. This is how ELLA (Early Literacy Learning through the Arts) enriches the learning experience for our region’s Pre-K students.

Learn more about ELLA.

Artist Residencies

Through a variety of school-day and after-school settings, teaching artists work with teachers to apply the arts to teaching in all areas of the curriculum, including the performing arts. RPAA can recommend teaching artists for grant programs or also tailor an artist residency experience to meet your school’s needs. For more information contact Education Assistant Melissa Rayford at or (804) 592-3381.


Performance-based Learning Events


In conjunction with performances at RPAA venues, performance-based learning events include our Wells Fargo OnStage School Series and Bardathon — an annual collaboration with Quill Theatre that brings high school theater teams together to perform a classic work of the Bard. We also live-stream Cast Chat-Backs featuring actors from the touring Broadway in Richmond series and master classes and lecture-demonstrations with other touring artists. To receive information on upcoming opportunities, please contact Education Assistant Melissa Rayford at or (804) 592-3381.


For eight years now, RPAA has partnered with Quill Theatre to present Bardathon, the region’s only non-competitive theater festival program. Sponsored by the Richmond Chapter of the English Speaking Union, Bardathon brings high school theater teams from across the region together, to Dominion Energy Center, to perform a work of the Bard. Teams are assigned scenes from the year’s chosen work. They then rehearse for months at their (respective) schools, putting their own interpretation of scene (small props), costume and other aesthetic choices to their performance. Finally, the teams ascend on the Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse to perform the piece in its entirety. The performance is live-streamed for parents and peers to watch, including a team from St. Petersburg, Russia who have participated in the program for six years running.

Professional Development

Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (RPAA) provides professional development for teachers and Teaching Artists that introduces new strategies for teaching in the arts, as well as applying the arts across the curriculum.

Tools For Learning

Play A Role In The Arts.
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