The Essential Drama Integration Guide to Come From Away the Broadway Musical
Have you ever used drama integration as a way to reach your students? If not, this would be a good place to begin. Use my essential drama integration guide for Come From Away the Broadway Musical
What is Drama Integration?
Through participation in theatre, students develop speaking and listening skills. Students collaborate with others in accomplishing common goals. Though many classroom teachers do not have a drama teacher to collaborate with, drama is a natural place to begin arts integration.
The story behind Come From Away is one which can easily be used in any classroom studying September 11th. Rather than just studying the story, how about teaching the historical moment through a theatrical production?
Why is The Musical Titled “Come From Away”?
“Come from away” is a term used in Canada’s Atlantic provinces for someone who has moved to the area from somewhere else. I’m a come from away myself, from Ontario, though my mother was born here.
The first reason to teach with this musical, and foremost in my opinion, if the story. It is just plain fascinating and begins with an explanation of Operation Yellow Ribbon.
Operation Yellow Ribbon was commenced by Canada to handle the diversion of civilian airline flights in response to the September 11 attacks in 2001 on the United States. Canada’s goal was to ensure that potentially destructive air traffic be removed from United States airspace as quickly as possible, and away from potential U.S. targets.
Instead of U.S. soil, those aircraft headed into the U.S. were place on the ground in Canada, at military and civilian airports in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia (and also several in New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec) where any destructive potential could be better contained and neutralized. None of the aircraft proved to be a threat, and Canada and Canadians hosted thousands of passengers stranded in Canada until U.S. airspace was reopened.
Canada began the operation after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), implementing Security Control of Air Traffic and Air Navigation Aids (SCATANA), grounded all aircraft across the United States, an unprecedented action. The FAA then worked with Transport Canada to reroute incoming international flights to airports in Canada.
During the operation, departing flights—with the exception of police, military, and humanitarian flights—were cancelled, marking the first time that Canadian airspace had been shut down. In total, as a result of Operation Yellow Ribbon, 255 aircraft were diverted to 17 different airports across the country. 45,000 people were displaced.
I told you it was fascinating! Come From Away is placed in Gander, Newfoundland.
Gander is a town located in the northeastern part of the island of Newfoundland in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Located on the northeastern shore of Gander Lake, it is the site of Gander International Airport, once an important refueling stop for transatlantic aircraft, and still a preferred emergency landing point for aircraft facing on-board medical or security issues. At the time of the 911 attack, its population was 6,000.
Most of the streets in Gander are named after famous aviators, including Alcock and Brown, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, Marc Garneau and Chuck Yeager.
Come From Away the Broadway Musical
Some musicals are developed with each creative team member responsible for particular parts of the show from playwriting to directing to choreography. Others are more collaborative in nature. The path of the musical, Come from Away to becoming a Broadway musical was fairly traditional once it was conceived.
However, its conception was the unique aspect and perhaps that why audiences love it so much. In this particular case, the composer and lyricists are also the playwrights. This doesn’t occur very often.
What is equally fascinating is the creative team’s personal connection to the story. The setting is in their home province of Newfoundland, Canada. The team didn’t realize there was a story to be told until ten years later when they were approached to write the show.
The musical has been received by audiences and critics as a cathartic reminder of the capacity for human kindness in even the darkest of times and the triumph of humanity over hate.
DID YOU KNOW ONLY 14 STATES TEACH ABOUT 911?
That’s a crying shame, but I’m out to change all that!
DramaMommaSpeaks Come From Away Drama Integration Guide
As you may be aware, I create drama education resources for teachers in my store, DramaMommaSpeaks. Currently, my Come From Away unit is very popular with vocal music, language arts and theater teachers.
This 46 page, two-day product includes:
- Letter to Teacher
- Warm Up–MY Version of a Popular Physical Warm Up
- Teacher’s Script–What I Say and How I Say it!
- Photos of Gander, Newfoundland where the story takes place and the airstrip which became the connector between strangers
- Plot of the Musical
- Synopsis of the Musical
- A Brief Description of the Operation Yellow Ribbon and 9/12, what occurred the day after the 9/11 attacks
- Separate File of Photos for Teacher’s Use in Lecture
- History about the Origination of the Production
- Information on the Director, Christopher Ashley
- Information on the Writing Team co-composers & playwrights David Hein and Irene Sankuff
- A Shortened Lesson on: What are the Tony Awards?
- List of Tony Awards
- New York City Map with Competing Theaters Labeled
- Student Note Page
- Teacher Note Page Key
- Trivia about Come From Away and Broadway Musicals with Some Surprising Facts!
- Lyrics from “Welcome to the Rock”–Good for Class Discussions or as a Jumping Off Point
- Extension Activities–Terrific Suggestions of Ways to Secure the Learning and Enrich the Experience, Individual and Group
- Sources & Links to Video Clips from the Show
- And More!
Comprehensive? You bet. If this interests you, perhaps my Hamilton lesson will too. Check out this blog post here.
Come From Away Movie
The Come From Away movie was released recently. You can find it on Apple TV. Of course, it would be wonderful if your students could view the movie. If not, you’ve got my complete lesson to answer any and all questions pertaining to this terrific musical.
It isn’t often that a historical moment is still pertinent twenty years later, but here we are.
If you direct productions, you’ll enjoy this musical for its ensemble feel. The story is told by every character with most playing more than one role. That’s always a nice challenge for performers and such fun, too. The set is simple, containing chairs, a table or two and few stage properties. The music is clever and sounds a bit like Irish folk music to me.
I think once its released to amateurs, every community theater, in the country will produce it. Wow!
A note to social studies and language arts teachers–don’t shy away from this musical because it is just that. Integrate drama into your classroom and your students will love you for it, I promise. Some of the best teaching is done when you break out of your routine and teach through a different medium.
I hope you’ll consider teaching your students about the musical, Come From Away. As I said, it’s one of most popular products (in the top four!) so there is some reason everyone desires this lesson. See for yourself.
Where were you when 911 occurred? I was the first person in my school building to hear the news. What an unforgettable experience to be sure.
I’d love to hear about your memories of 911. Contact me at DhcBaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net
Want a FREE guide and drama integration lesson for grades 6 to 8? Go here: FREE guide and drama integration