As stated in the bylaws of Olympia Junior Programs, Inc. (OJP):
“The purpose of this organization shall be to present to the junior citizens of the community educational and entertaining programs in the fields of drama, music, science, and the interpretive arts, at as low a price as possible; to maintain the standards of such programs at the highest level; and to develop audiences who will continue to come and enjoy the finest cultural programs.”
Who We Are
A non-profit organization of community volunteers doing year-round behind-the-scenes work.
Whom We Serve
Elementary students in Thurston County, Washington, and beyond.
Plays are presented in the late winter and spring. Each play runs for four or five days. Daily performances are at 10:00 AM and 12:30 PM, and last about one hour. Letters announcing the coming season’s schedule are sent to school principals in October. Play dates are scheduled with the Washington Center two years in advance.
OJP is a program designed to give students the opportunity to experience and value a wide variety of performing arts. Two shows are offered for grades 1-3 and two others for grades 3-6. Attendance at two shows each year is encouraged. OJP contracts with professional production companies about one year in advance. Productions are carefully selected for relevance to curriculum and appropriateness for the age of the audience. Works based on literature or history are often used. Companies chosen have demonstrated expertise with young audiences, and present a program that is technically more intricate than would be done for an assembly in a school setting.
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts
512 S. Washington Street
Olympia WA 98501
$5.00 per play per student ($10.00 for full two-play season).
Free to classroom teachers and school aides.
Invoice or School Purchase Order
Payment in advance or at theater by cash or check
Schools are responsible for transportation and its expense. It may be funded from district or building budgets, or by PTA or other parent support groups. The OJP Bus Coordinator gives instructions to bus drivers as they arrive at the theater and manages the schedule for the time and method of departure from the theater.
A study guide for each play is provided free of charge to all teachers and school librarians in advance. Materials include suggestions for class discussions before and after the play, background information about the story, subject, performing company or theatrical form, vocabulary words, cross-curricular projects, references, and the OJP Theater Etiquette guide. The study and etiquette guides are also on the OJP website, with links to other referenced websites.
Audience Age Policy
Children who attend OJP plays MUST BE 5 years or older by September 1 of the current school year. OJP is for elementary students; the performances are not open to the public. Guests, teachers, chaperones, ushers and homeschool parents are asked to respect this policy.
Homeschooling parents are welcome to attend with their child(ren) who are at least 5 years of age by September 1 of the current school year. The cost is the same for parent and students. Reservations and payment may be made in advance with the OJP Homeschool Coordinator. (See Homeschool Tab.) OJP recommends that students attend the plays appropriate to their grade level.
October – play announcement and participation request forms mailed; return deadline is stated
November-December – seating assignments made and attendance dates scheduled; schools notified
January – OJP training of School Representatives
late January – early February – schools collect payment and permission forms; parent ushers are recruited
mid February through April – performances
The Value of OJP
Play attendance and use of our teacher’s study guides support many of the state-mandated learning requirements. Regular attendance at OJP productions provides students the opportunity to develop their appreciation for and ability to respond effectively to live theater. They become acquainted with the premier performance venue in their community and learn theater etiquette. Actors in professional national touring companies often comment that OJP audiences are exceptionally engaged and responsive.
Each participating school is asked to provide a parent volunteer who can represent the school with OJP. The School Representative attends three or four meetings (January through April), collects the payment/permission envelopes, and recruits and supervises parent volunteer ushers.
Parent volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the Washington Center to assist the children from their school with getting on and off the buses, escorting them to their assigned seats, and observing or assisting during the play. Parent ushers remain standing throughout the play and may not bring other children with them.