Francis in the Schools provides social studies lessons through the dramatic arts. Using music, dance, and theater, we dramatize historical events in the lives of Francis of Assisi and other inspiring figures who followed in his footsteps. These nonsectarian plays have been enjoyed by students from both public and parochial schools.
Our lively musical plays feature delightful original songs, vibrantly choreographed dances, colorful costumes, and, occasionally, larger-than-life puppets. We feel that when stories of love, service, and courage are staged in such a dynamic way, children can more easily sense and experience universal positive qualities such as kindness and brotherhood.
Our first musical play, Following Francis, was introduced in 2011 and dramatized highlights from the life of Francis of Assisi. Over the years, Following Francis has been updated to include more scenes, more songs, and more elaborate costumes and choreography to enliven and “bring to the present” the remarkable life of Francis. The scenes in the play are modular, so we can select vignettes depending on the age and interests of our guests.
Francis in the Schools has also presented a concert version of Following Francis featuring the international recording artist Alessandro Brustenghi, a Franciscan friar from Assisi, Italy. Friar Alessandro made his first-ever visit to America in 2013 to give a free concert at a Francis in the Schools event in Oakland, California called “A Day of Perfect Joy”, and returned to the U.S. in 2014 to offer Francis in the Schools concerts for children on the East Coast as well.
In addition to plays about Francis, our repertoire includes musical plays about Junípero Serra, a Franciscan friar who devoted his life to bringing the message of Francis to the American continent and its native people in the 1700s. These plays portray the kindness, courage, and endurance exemplified in the life of this American Hispanic saint who cared deeply for the Native Americans and fought ardently for their rights.