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Teaching the Constitution using Theater, a New Effort of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society Begins

During 2020, both education and theater faced extraordinary challenges.

At schools, teachers found themselves instructing with a laptop and camera, not a classroom. To assist educators find digital resources to help them teach the U.S. Constitution, government, and history, we partnered with allies to create the We the People Constitution Tour Hub, a central location where you can find high quality digital learning resources. This project is the work of the We the People Consortium, featuring the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, White House Historical Association, National Archives and Records Administration, President’s Park/White House Visitor Center (National Park Service), and the George Mason Memorial (National Park Service).

You can watch the USCHS demonstrate the We the People Constitution Tour Hub HERE.

You can also watch the Congressional premiere of the We the People Constitution Tour Hub HERE.

This second video features remarks from U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Roy Blunt, and Ben Cardin; and U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney, Virginia Foxx, Byron Donalds, and Barbara Lee.

Also in 2020, theater companies around the nation struggled as live audience presentations halted. Through this struggle, however, a new version of theater emerged: the virtual play reading.

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society partnered with StoryWorks, a documentary theater company in rural Mississippi, to use theater as a tool to teach the Constitution. Our first presentation is Beautiful Agitators, a virtual play reading created from an original play funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council and the Mississippi National Heritage Area.

Beautiful Agitators is the true story of a civil rights-era beauty shop owner from Mississippi that was created as a teaching tool for students as we reckon with aspects of our nation’s past. This play, and the accompanying lesson plans, help young people learn about our struggle for equality, the strength we all have within ourselves, and the undying potential of the American Dream.

You can watch a virtual reading of Beautiful Agitators HERE.

You can access the full Beautiful Agitators lesson plan HERE.