Students in New York City's public schools speak over 180 languages. More than 1 in 10 are still learning English. LCT meets this challenge head-on through its Learning English and Drama (LEAD) Project.

The LEAD Project is a 10-session, semester-long collaboration between an LCT teaching artist and a middle or high school teacher of multilingual learners (MLLs) that promotes English speaking skills and learning in theater. 

“In a system that often classifies our students by what they cannot do yet, this program re-centers them as experts, artists, and valuable voices in our society. And most of all, students and teachers just love the experience!”

— Principal of a LEAD Project Partner School

The goal of the LEAD Project is to use theater as a structure within which MLLs can express themselves creatively and joyfully in English. 

Each semester, students explore plot and character through improvisation, movement, and voice, culminating with an in-class performance of an adapted work of fiction, non-fiction or dramatic literature. 

Through their engagement in theater, students achieve greater fluency and confidence in speaking and obtain tools for self-expression and collaborative learning.

LEAD Project professional development centers on the collaborative relationship between the teacher and teaching artist and introduces teachers to classroom drama techniques that support students’ English-speaking skills.