Red Yarn offers educational programs for elementary and preschools. Teaching artist Andy Furgeson (aka Red Yarn) can visit for performances, workshops, or extended residencies, sharing his passion for music, puppetry and folklore with students. With an extensive background in education and an infectious creative energy, Furgeson creates meaningful arts experiences. In the greater Portland area, Red Yarn usually books school gigs through Young Audiences and Right Brain Initiative. If your school works with YA or RBI, please contact Josephine Kruever to begin the booking process. Otherwise, contact Andy for pricing and availability.

Performance Program – The Deep Woods: Animals in American Folk Music

Animal characters play an important role in the multicultural folksongs of the United States. Red Yarn imagines that all of those animals inhabit the same magical community: the Deep Woods. Red will lead students into the Deep Woods, teaching classic songs like “Froggie Went A-Courtin’” and “The Fox” along the way. Mixing live musical performance with puppetry and interactive storytelling, this program engages students with the songs and stories of our national heritage, from African-American Br’er Rabbit tales to English nursery rhymes. Children will stomp, clap, dance, sing along, and act out characters in Red Yarn’s energetic show. Curriculum connections include literacy through song lyrics and folklore, social studies and forest ecology.

Residency Program – Folk Song Puppet Show

Folksongs and puppetry are two of the most ancient, most engaging methods of storytelling. What happens when you combine the two? In this 4-5 day residency, Andy will help students adapt a classic folksong into a lively musical puppet show. After learning to sing a fun folksong, students will dig into its lyrics to pull out the narrative. They’ll make elaborate sock puppets of the song’s characters and learn puppetry techniques. Finally, the class will perform their musical puppet show for the community. This program supports students’ literacy, historical understanding, musical aptitude and performance skills. Folksongs can be chosen or rewritten to connect to current curriculum or student interests.