Teralyn Reiter, founder and director of Charleston-based non-profit Storytree Children’s Theatre, joins four other teaching artists as a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant from the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts. Local performing artists in five cities—Charleston, Seattle, Milwaukee, Denver, and Los Angeles—were selected from thousands of applicants. The award consists of a two-week residency at AIR Serenbe (near Atlanta), travel expenses, and a $1500 honorarium.
"I am honored to know that people see something relevant in my work and are willing to go on this creative journey with me. I am thrilled to have the opportunity,” Reiter says.
For the residency, scheduled for later this year, Reiter plans to develop a creative and interactive performance that brings children’s personal stories and their imaginations to life. The plays they work to create are specific to the children in the immediate space (i.e., the audience), so each performance will be unique and based solely on the thoughts and ideas of the children attending the residency.
“In performing a child’s story, we create a conversation in that space and beyond about how our children see the world and themselves in it,” Reiter says. “And also reminding adults about their own childhood.”
Reiter’s award is an extension of the student-written, student-designed performances that she and host of other teaching artists bring to schools and festivals in and around Charleston County. Most recently Storytree Children’s Theatre partnered with the Gaillard Education Initiative for a week-long theatre class featuring jazz musician Charlton Singleton. Together, a group of 17 children produced a play, The History of the Jenkins Orphanage Band - The Birthplace of Jazz.
Sterling deVries, Director of Education at the Gaillard, nominated Reiter for the fellowship.
"When asked by Wolf Trap and Creativity Connects if Charleston possessed an outstanding local performing artist worthy of the fellowship award, Teralyn Reiter of Storytree Theatre immediately came to mind,” she says. "Through Storytree Children's Theatre, Teralyn creates a learning environment that promotes success and educational mastery for students of all ages. As the recipient of the fellowship, Teralyn will be given dedicated time to explore her next artistic steps."
The Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts provides innovative arts-based teaching strategies and services to early childhood teachers, caregivers, and children from birth through kindergarten. Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts receives grants from The National Endowment for the Arts.