Neighborhood Bridges

Neighborhood Bridges is a nationally recognized literacy program using storytelling and creative drama to help children develop their critical literacy skills and to transform them into storytellers of their own lives. Our skilled teaching artists animate learning and transform classrooms into communities where students think independently and work collectively. Founded in 1997 by Peter Brosius, artistic director of the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, and Jack Zipes, Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, the program collaborates with Twin Cities area classrooms and reaches over 500 students.

Neighborhood Bridges addresses state and national language arts standards. As a recipient of the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) grant, Neighborhood Bridges is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national model for arts education. 

To bring Neighborhood Bridges to your classroom or community, please contact [email protected].


  • Partner Schools
  • Impacts and Outcomes
  • Teaching Artists
  • Breck School Partnership
  • Crossing Bridges Festival


This school year, Neighborhood Bridges is partnering with 25 classrooms at 11 schools in the Twin Cities Metro Area.

Hillcrest Community School - grade 3

Anne Sullivan Community School - grade 3
Jefferson Community School - grade 3
Jenny Lind Elementary - grade 4
Lucy Craft Laney Community School - grade 4
Lyndale Community School - grade 3
Wellstone International High School - varied

St. Paul
Eastern Heights Elementary - grade 3

Little Canada Elementary - grades 5/6

Lincoln Elementary School - grades 4 & 5
Evergreen Park World Cultures School - grades 4 & 5


The impact of the Bridges program is assessed by formal student and teacher evaluations conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI).
The impact of Bridges was particularly evident in writing and public speaking/collaboration and acting skills as well as teachers’ practices.
  • In all years during 2007-2016, the number of words that students wrote for their narrative stories increased significantly from fall to spring.
  • Exceeding goals, 93% of students met the theatre standards and public speaking skills measured by the acting assessment tool in 2015-2016.
  • Over 80% of classroom teachers used Bridges’ community building, questioning and comprehension tools, outside of the Neighborhood Bridges sessions in 2015-2016.


Sandy Agustín
Maria Asp
Pedro Bayon
Adlyn Carreras
Annie Enneking
Aaron Fiskradatz
Brian Grandison
Chris Griffith
Julie Smith Healey
Tessa Flynn Henderson
Laura Mann Hill
Olivia Levins Holden
Matt Jenson 
Leif Jurgensen
Derek Phillips
Lindsey Samples 
Jay Scoggin
Kiyoko Motoyama Sims
Emily Zimmer


In 2012-2013, Children’s Theatre Company and Breck School formed a teaching artist internship program. This is a unique partnership which combines not only academic class and service learning, but also fosters interactions among an arts organization, public and independent schools. During the 2017-2018 school year, 15 Breck upper school students in grades 10, 11 and 12 are participating. They study Bridges pedagogy through a year-long class “Performance and Social Change” taught by James Carlisle at Breck and take part in a Neighborhood Bridges classroom as a teaching artist intern on Wednesdays through Service Learning hours from September through May at Lyndale School in Minneapolis.

Please join us for the 20th annual


Every week throughout the school year, CTC’s Neighborhood Bridges program brings teaching artists into public school classrooms to build students’ critical literacy skills with storytelling, creative writing, and theatre exercises.

At the end of the school year, 25 Bridges classrooms from 11 schools perform their own ten-minute plays on the CTC main stage during the Crossing Bridges Festival, May 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 6pm on the UnitedHealth Group stage. This is a free event and open to the public. Join us as we gather to honor and celebrate the voices of young people! For questions, contact Laura Mann Hill.

May 14
Anne Sullivan School—Minneapolis (3 classrooms)
Hillcrest Community School—Bloomington (3 classrooms)

May 15
Evergreen Park World Cultures School—Brooklyn Center (1 classroom)
Eastern Heights Elementary—Saint Paul (2 classrooms)
Jefferson Community School—Minneapolis (2 classrooms)
Wellstone International High School—Minneapolis (1 classroom)

May 21
Little Canada Elementary—Little Canada (4 classrooms)
Lyndale Community School—Minneapolis (3 classrooms)

May 22
Jenny Lind Elementary—Minneapolis (2 classrooms)
Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts—Anoka (1 classroom)
Lucy Craft Laney Community School (3 classrooms)

No tickets or reservations required - this is a free event to celebrate student voices!
All seating done on a first come, first served basis.

Please enter through the main entrance that is shared with Minneapolis Institute of Art off of 3rd Avenue and make your way up to the 2nd floor – Target Lobby.

There is ample parking on-street near the building, as well as paid lots managed by Mia. 
For more information, consult CTC’s parking guide.

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