The Nature of Theater

by Michelle Zinke, Education Consultant for Nature Explore

Time and time again I have seen how well-designed outdoor spaces encourage learning and create excitement for children and families. In a Nature Explore Classroom, the Music and Movement Area is my favorite because in addition to being a consultant for Nature Explore and a full-time advocate against domestic and sexual violence, I am involved with several local theatre companies.

My current production is Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, with the Flatwater Shakespeare Company.  This production is performed in outdoor venues and includes tours of local city parks and other outdoor spaces.

Last year’s two-week tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was well attended by families with children of all ages. It was amazing to watch as the children and youth became enraptured with the performance in the middle of their neighborhood park. Before and after the performance (and occasionally during) children would wander onto the designated stage area to express themselves in the way that actors do. They were inspired to explore the park and create their own scenes.

The experience reminded me of all the ways that Nature Explore Classrooms and other nature settings can be used to educate and entertain children, youth, and adults. You don’t have to be involved with the theater to perform. Create a Music and Movement Area and bring your imagination. The possibilities are endless.