Please visit our YouTube channel for the Premier of the Whoopensocker Show at Stephens Elementary on May 12 at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Latest Whoopensocker Videos

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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 

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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.

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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.

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Creative Process

Part One: 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.

Whoopensocker performance

Part Two: 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.

Students sit in a crowd for a Whoopensocker event

Whoopensocker Team Coordinators

Whoopensocker Numbers

8 Schools & Community Centers

500 Student Art Makers

40 Teaching Artists

6001 Original Stories

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The UW Community Arts Collaboratory is dedicated to bringing the arts to underserved rural and low-income communities.

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Covid-19 Update

All of our virtual programs will be running as planned. We are following UW–Madison campus policy regarding in-person program cancellations. Please check the UW-Madison COVID-19 website for updates. 

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