Something Extraordinary of Its Kind! Creativity, Expression, Writing, and Collaboration.

Whoopensocker is an education residency focused on creativity, expression, writing, and collaboration. It is also a dynamic community-building experience for the whole class. Whoopensocker’s ensemble of teaching artists bring in a toolbox of new ideas to the classroom. They use performing and creative arts to design innovative classroom experiences. The focus of the Whoopensocker residency is self-empowerment of students. Whoopensocker’s six-week residency is ideal for elementary school. Dr. Erica Rosenfeld Halverson developed Whoopensocker in partnership with Theatre LILA. Dr. Halverson is a faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UW–Madison School of Education. Meet the rest of the Whoopensocker Team.

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Whoopensocker Shows!

Join us at Madison Youth Arts Center for the return of the Whoopensocker Show featuring stories written by Madison’s emerging writers!

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Whoopensocker Show, June 2, 10:30 AM

Whoopensocker Show, June 2, 6:30 PM


Please join us at 5:30 for the Performing Ourselves showcase – “The Miracle is You”! This will take place in the MYArts theatre – no ticket required.

Whoopensocker Show, June 3, 6:30 PM


Drum Power‘s Advanced Group will open this show as special guests!

Whoopensocker Show, June 4, 11:00 AM

The UW Community Arts Collaboratory is dedicated to bringing the arts to underserved rural and low-income communities. Be the first to know when this program is scheduled to run—subscribe for updates below.

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The Whoopensocker team of teachers come into the classroom!

Our team of teaching artists will come into your classrooms for a six-week session meeting once a week for 90 minutes. A team of three senior teaching artists and one or two apprentices spend the session with the students, exploring different aspects of dramatic structure and creative writing. The children are introduced to improvisation games and given the chance to act out the group stories with guidance from the teaching artists. Then they are given notebook journals and instructions before breaking into small groups to begin creating more stories together with the Whoopensocker team. Each week, every student will have helped to build at least one original story that they perform for the rest of the class.

The students’ creative writing becomes a show for the whole school!

No Tickets required. Whoopensocker and Theatre LILA actors come together and create a vaudeville-style, sketch comedy performance of the students’ writing. They gather the childrens’ journals and begin the process of selecting the pieces that will become your school’s Whoopensocker SHOW! About two weeks after the last classroom session, we come into your school’s auditorium and perform for the whole school. The students are applauded for their work as the actor’s take the stage and perform a 60-90 minute sketch show. Students’ voices are recognized and their creativity is validated when professional actors perform the student-written show. It is a fantastic culmination of their creativity celebrated with students and staff.

Whoopensocker’s new podcast features stories from our archive, reimagined for your ears! That is, stories written by students since our first residency in 2016, newly adapted by our creative cast of actors. Listen alone or as a family, anywhere and everywhere!

Listen to the Whoopensocker Podcast 

Latest Whoopensocker Videos

Thank you for your support of Whoopensocker, a program of the UW Community Arts Collaboratory. We are proud to share the stories of Madison’s young people in exciting digital formats! This decision is aligned with current UW-Madison plans and response to COVID-19. Premiere dates for online performances are to be determined; we’re working quickly to establish platforms for sharing young peoples’ stories. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Whoopensocker Numbers

8 Schools & Community Centers

500 Student Art Makers

40 Teaching Artists

6001 Original Stories

Whoopensocker Team Coordinators

Erica Halverson

Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Mayor of Whoopensocker