Afterschool at the Penasco Theater

Peñasco Theatre Collective operates a Wise Fool New Mexico funded circus-based after-school arts program providing unique opportunities for self-discovery, physical development, personal and collective empowerment, and youth visibility through the mediums of aerials, physical theater, writing, stilt-walking and visual art. Engaged, creative and professional mentorship at low-cost fosters skills necessary for a healthy, creative, successful society rich with deep cultural and community connections.

For information about classes in Santa Fe at Wise Fool:

For more information about afterschool classes

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Artist Residency!

Did you know, that the Peñasco Theater offers a live-in Artist Residency Program?, as well as rents the theater for personal and group retreats?


“Art as Resistance”
Penasco Theatre is seeking performances based artists who’s work incorporates, dialogues with or is in some way inspired by the struggle for transformation and justice.

Peñasco Theater offers short and long term retreats for Individuals and Groups. Come stay in a historic theater house and explore the beautiful landscapes of Northern New Mexico

Click here to learn more

2016 winter Session Classes

Circus Arts

Winter/spring session: Jan 9th – May ?? ( show date TBD)


10am-11 am Circus Playgroup , ages 1-5 must be accompanied by an adult

4pm-4:45pm Ages 3 – 6 Pre-school gymnastics and circus
4:45pm-6pm Ages 7 – 10 CIRCUS: aerial, gymnastics and stilts
6pm-7pm Ages 10 – up Teen and Adult Aerials

This is a donation based program: That means, the Peñasco Theatre Collective feels that access to quality arts programs should not be limited by the ability to pay with money. We value all the other ways that people can contribute to help keep our programs going; we accept payments in; wood, produce, volunteer time and labor, and anything else you want to offer!

If you want to pay money for the classes, this is the price breakdown

preschool class: $5, all other classes $10

PERFORMANCE AND VISUAL ARTS WORKSHOPS FOR SCHOOL AGED YOUTHThe Peñasco Theatre Collective collaborates with Northern New Mexico school districts to provide in school and after school visual and performance based art classes. Participants learn invaluable life lessons such as calculated risk-taking, collaboration/negotiation, trust-building, hands-on mathematics, literacy and positive self-expression. Performance and visual art projects utilize many of the same basic skills currently taught in elementary and secondary education. The skills are applied and experiential. Our workshops encourage different types of learning incorporating various modalities. Young people gain self-efficacy, self-awareness, and self-confidence.


PTC Artist/Educators are experienced working with diverse youth in a variety of community settings, nationally and internationally and are accomplished professional working artists committed to their disciplines and are eager to pass on the traditions and skills of visual and performance art.


PTC Artist/Educators collaborate with students and school teachers to bring the disciplines of puppet making, stilt walking, mask making, acrobatics, poetry, theatre and more to enthusiastic young people providing unique opportunities for self-discovery, physical development, personal and collective empowerment, youth visibility and inter-generational connection.


We teach in all over Northern New Mexico including Peñasco, Taos, Española, Dixon, Chimayo, Santa Fe, Aztec, Las Vegas and beyond. Each year we work with hundreds of public and charter school students to create inspiring and educational productions infusing the curricular experience with imagination, beauty and humor.


PTC Artist/Educators are committed to providing challenging and empowering creative experiences that enhance verbal and non-verbal communication skills, cross cultural collaboration, negotiation and trust utilizing the disciplines of circus, performance and visual arts.









This is a list of potential performance and visual arts workshops for school aged youth. They can be done individually or combined to create an innovative youth performance.


Giant Puppet Construction – Participants will be engaged for 8 to 10, 1- hour sessions. Students will use recycled materials to learn basic paper-maché, sculpting, painting, costume design and wood construction with hand tools. While creating magical, larger than life puppets they will be working together in groups of three or four, conceiving, designing and building images to tell an original story, adapted folktale or to support a school event i.e., cultural program, Earth Day, Spring Festival etc.


Students will learn about story lines, plots, characters, scripts and stage directions. Each child will have the opportunity to give input, provide leadership and assist peers while gaining skills in cooperation, communication and basic construction. As a “puppet team” the members of each group will also learn to work together to bring their giant image to life. Classroom curriculum is incorporated in a variety of ways, specifically through the disciplines of literacy and math.

Suggested Grades: K – 12

Required student to teacher ratio: 10/1


Empowerment Through Stilts -This program is specifically designed to promote self-confidence, efficacy and trust through calculated risk taking. Stilt walking illustrates the concept of inter-dependence. Success requires trust, negotiation, and communication. It gives students an opportunity to challenge fears and the process of learning to walk builds trust within the group. In a culture where so many young people go unseen the experience of being “larger than life” permanently alters self-perception.


Participants will work in groups of 3 to support each other physically and verbally in learning to walk on a pair of wooden stilts. Children learn basic physics, body mechanics, balancing and collaborative choreography. PTC Artist/Educators work with students to create a rousing stilt dance performance, including costumes and/or headpieces. For maximum effectiveness and safety we recommend 10 – 12, 1-hour sessions.

Suggested Grades: 2 – 12

Required student to teacher ratio: 7/1


Mask Making – Using paper maché, clay base, cardboard or plaster bandage construction students will create masks for characters from a story or concept being studied in the current curriculum. Participants will learn the art of characterization and storytelling by bringing their creations to life. Some basic movement and performance skills will also be imparted. This project requires 6 – 8, 1-hour sessions.

Suggested Grades: 3 – 12

Required student to teacher ratio: 10/1


Shadow Puppets – Global cultures have used shadow puppets for story telling since the beginning of time. Students will learn the delicate techniques for creating stunning images using cardboard and light. Beginning with the basics of shadow puppetry and moving into storyboarding and creation of puppets specific to each story, poem or theme currently studied. Youth will work in small groups to illustrate and bring each story to life – developing visual art techniques as well as theatrical, vocal and cooperation skills. Students can present their finished plays as part of a school assembly or in a smaller setting. Length of performance will depend greatly on number of students and stories developed. This project requires 6 – 8, 1-hour sessions.

Suggested Grades: 4 – 12

Required student to teacher ratio: 10/1


Drama – PTC Artist/Educators utilize theatre games, movement, character development, storyboarding, clowning and oration in collaboration with students to create a dynamic final performance. We recommend 10 – 12, 1-hour sessions possibly as part of an ongoing after school program.

Suggested Grades: Any

Required student to teacher ratio: 10/1


Acrobatics/Tumbling – Participants learn physical agility, body awareness and inter-dependence. Success requires individual agility and the ability to physically support each other. It requires focus and promotes trust while providing opportunities for individual and group success. We recommend 5 – 10, 1-hour sessions possibly as part of an ongoing after school program.

Suggested Grades: Any

Required student to teacher ratio: 10/1



















(Partial list)



La Jicarita Community School– 2014/15/16 Peñasco NM Theatre, stilts, aerial arts, giant puppets, shadow puppets and culinary arts with K-6 graders ending in Celebration of learning. Themes related to common core studies; family history, local folks tales, and healthy eating.

Embudo Valley Library after school program- 2014, – 2016 Ongoing collaboration; stilts, visual arts

Camp Colin- 2005-2016 Llano NM Circus arts with local summer camp

Truchas Summer program- 2014/15/16 Stilt walking and circus art sampler Mosaic Charter School – 2012, 2013, Circus and Physics 3-8 graders. & puppetry.

Hernandez Elementary- 2014 Espanola NM, Stilt walking with 5/6 graders.

Chimayo Elementary – Spring 2010 Stilt walking for 5th and 6th graders.

Chimayo Boys and Girls Club – Spring 2010 Giant puppet construction and stilt walking for elementary school children in collaboration with the Santa Fe Opera.

San Juan Elementary – Spring 2010 Giant puppet construction with 6th graders. Shadow puppets, poems, performance and mask making with 2nd graders for a Chinese culture based performance. Fall 2009 San Juan NM Stilts and masks for Dia de Los Muertos celebration to 3rd and 6th graders.

Alcalde Elementary – Spring 2010 Stilt walking with 6th graders, giant puppets and masks with K and 1.

Peñasco Theatre Youth Performance Troupe – Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 Trapeze, fabric, aerial hoop, acrobatics and poetry culminating in a final public performance at the Peñasco Theatre.

Peñasco Elementary – Spring 2009 Stilt walking for spring festival with 5th graders.

Enos Garcia Elementary – Taos NM Fall 2009 Giant puppet stories about star myths, creation and performance with 5th graders.

Dixon Elementary – ongoing 2008-2016 Tumbling, stilt walking, giant puppet, hand puppets and mask making with various grades.

Arroyos Del Norte – Taos NM Fall 2008   Giant puppet story creation with 3-5th graders based on folktales and original stories composed by students.

Ranchos Elementary – Taos NM 2009 Giant puppet story creation with 4th graders.

Mosaic Charter School – Aztec NM Spring 2008/2009 Giant puppet creation with k-8 grades ending in a procession. And shadow puppet story creation and performance for Solar Festival.

Rio Gallinas Charter School – Las Vegas NM Spring 2008 Creation of giant puppet and stilt outdoor pageant for “Re-Wilding The West”, a whole school performance about history and New Mexico ecology.

Carnival Center for the Performing Arts – Miami FL 2001-2008 designed and implemented a six-year circus arts education program for under-resourced youth in 6 neighborhoods throughout Miami Dade County. Each spring a six-week intensive circus and visual art after-school program culminates in a collaborative outdoor free circus performance by over 100 youth of col