Educators’ Preview of The Belle of Amherst

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Out of the Mouths of Poets/ Theater Tools That Help Students Understand Poetry Educators’ Preview of The Belle of Amherst by William Luce starring Ferrell Marshall as Emily Dickinson , directed by Todd Neilsen at the Sierra Madre Playhouse FREE for Educators who RSVP – Thursday, March 16th 7 pm – limited spaces available

What: FREE Educators’ Preview and Reception for The Belle of Amherst by William Luce starring Ferrell Marshall as Emily Dickinson, directed by Todd Nielsen
When: Thursday, March 16th
Time: Reception & Lobby Tour – 7:00 pm, play (final dress rehearsal) 7:30 pm Followed by optional talk-back with the star and director.
Where: Sierra Madre Playhouse – 87 West Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre, CA 91024
RSVP to: use form below or by phone to 818 366-8900 or by email to by March 15th at 5 pm – limited seating available.
Adults only

This Educators’ preview is an adult event (with a group of selected senior high school students.) No children please.


How can you help students appreciate poetry? Does listening to poems spoken aloud unlock their power? How can we make a woman who lived over 150 years ago seem vital to people living in the 21st century? In The Belle of Amherst , Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), a pioneering female American poet, speaks of her life and reads her poems on the stage. Although only ten of her poems were published during her lifetime, some 1,800 were published after her death, not including two new collections published since 2013 consisting of poems collected from scraps, chocolate wrappers and envelopes. Her concerns regarding her compositions extended beyond themes and the choice of words to the way the word visually appeared on the page. We invite educators and youth leaders to revisit the poems of this beloved American poet and to meet Emily embodied through the acting talent of Ferrell Marshall at this free event for educators (not kids at this event) -one night only – at the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

Educators will get to explore the themes of Emily’s poems. What are the tools a theater team uses to take an audience to a time when women’s lives were far different than they are today? Can students understand both poetry and history more deeply when it is delivered “in the first person”? What modifications can be made so this dramatic tool can be used in the classroom? How are students being taught to deconstruct the storytelling techniques used to tell dramatic stories on the stage?

The play opens on Saturday, March 18th – but educators can get an advance look at the final dress rehearsal for the play. This event allows educators to experience the play in context, with lobby displays, interactive engagement, post- performance discussion with the actor and creative team, and the opportunity to meet other educators interested in creating exciting learning opportunities focused on poetry and American history.

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The Belle of Amherst. A play. Written by William Luce. Directed by Todd Nielsen. Presented by Sierra Madre Playhouse and Honey B Productions. Ferrell Marshall stars as the great American poet Emily Dickinson in this evocation of her life and times. At Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, CA 91024. This is just east of Pasadena. There is ample free parking in a lot behind the Playhouse. March 18- April 23, 2017. Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:00, Sundays at 2:30. Tickets: $30. Seniors (65+) $27. Youth (13-21) $20. Children 12 and under, $17. Discounts are available for groups of ten or more. Reservations: (626) 355-4318. Online ticketing: