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Open Stage is a collaborative performing arts program based on the success of My Masterpieces, developed over the past year by the PUSD Arts Office, group of local performing arts organizations, and supported by the Pasadena Educational Foundation and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Open Stage will provide in-depth experiences in theater for students in grades 6 through 8 that are integrated with the history and social science curriculum. Open Stage aims to help deepen students understanding of diverse music, theater, and dance.

In Open Stage, experienced community teaching artists, in collaboration with PUSD teachers, enliven history and social science with a new sequential curriculum focused on the use of character development, script development, and performance. Each class will also attend a live performance at one of the partner theaters during or after the residency.

Partner Theaters

  • A Noise Within
  • Ensemble Shakespeare Theatre
  • Pasadena Playhouse
  • Sierra Madre Playhouse

The program was developed by the  PUSD Arts Office, twelve local performing arts organizations, seven PUSD middle school teachers, and the Pasadena Educational Foundation. Open Stage is being tested in ten classrooms at five middle schools for the 2017-18 school year.

Performing Arts Organizations
Middle Schools
NEA Grant

My Masterpieces and Open Stage are two of the most important programmatic accomplishments of Pasadena Educational Foundation, and reflects PEF’s vision to leverage the community’s remarkable resources to benefit all the students in PUSD.  They also reflect the strong collective effort of the PEF, PUSD, the arts community, and philanthropic community which has restored arts education as an integral part of teaching and learning in every school in the district.

The learning objectives for the students are:

  • Develop communication and presentational skills.
  • Develop an understanding of character development in historical context, using both historical figures and fictional characters from theater.
  • Connect the elements of theater – e.g., plot, character, conflict, resolution – to events and movements in historical and contemporary times.
  • Relate the use of different artistic perspectives and choices to different interpretations of historical events.

“We are extremely grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for recognizing the strengths of our district and our arts community. Through this grant and the support of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, we will accelerate arts learning opportunities for our students and support their development as 21st-century learners.”

– PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald.

Support School Arts Programs!

Open Stage is one of the many ways the Pasadena Educational Foundation helps to create a vibrant and enriching educational experience for all public school children in Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre.


The Pasadena Educational Foundation’s grant was one of only seven awarded in the entire country in the NEA’s Arts Education Collective Impact category in this round of funding.  The concept behind Collective Impact is that by working in partnership, organizations and individuals can tackle and solve complex problems more effectively that they can by working alone.

Thank you to our generous donors and to the following:

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