10 Years of Bringing Character to Life
Since 2007, Drama by George has been bringing the power of theatre and storytelling to character education!
2006 | Prehistory
- Like many new businesses, Drama by George is born partly from a dream and partly from necessity. When Artistic Director George Halitzka loses his full-time job in Iowa, he decides there’s no time like the present to follow his dream of becoming a working artist. “Halitzka” is impossible to spell, so George buys the domain DramaByGeorge.com for his new endeavor.
- George begins teaching theatre classes for children and teens as well as producing small-scale productions. One of them is a custom corporate event where employees at the University of Iowa Ophthalmology Department become suspects in a “murder mystery”!
2007 | Welcome to Louisville
- George moves to Louisville with his new bride Julie so that she can enroll in seminary. He lands a part-time job blowing things up in educational science programs. Meanwhile, he starts networking in the Louisville theatre community.
- After just four months in town, Drama by George produces our first play, Christmas Presence, a modern retelling of the biblical nativity story. The five-actor production tours to churches and organizations in 2007 and 2008.
2008 | Stories Alive!
- George gives his first performance of Stories Alive!, our longest-running show. George has now presented the high-energy performance, which brings students onstage as characters in classic fairy tales, 152 times for 10,500 students!
- In summer 2008, George launches Boys vs. Girls: The Game Show. The wacky, messy game show — always a big hit at summer day camps — has now been presented 106 times for 5800 kids.
2009 | What a Character
- Drama by George launches our first after-school drama club at Stopher Elementary School. The students perform “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Eight years and 34 productions later, Drama by George still offers our program at Stopher!
- George’s history as a survivor of bullying motivates him to make an initial foray into character education programming. He writes a sketch comedy show called What a Character, and George and Julie perform it together. After a few months, however, they call it quits (the show, not the marriage). It turns out their union is happier when they’re not working together.
2010 | Things Get Busy (in a Good Way)
- George publishes his one-act play Happily Ever After with Playscripts. His work continues to be performed by schools, churches, and theatres around the world.
- Among other small-but-significant milestones, we launch our second and third after-school drama clubs in the fall.
2011 | The Return of What a Character
- We relaunch What a Character, this time with a paid actor playing opposite George. By the end of its run, 5000 students have seen 31 performances of the production. Two different versions address the topics of bullying and achievement.
- In the winter, we join the Kentuckiana Cultural Consortium, a network of organizations that offer arts and culture opportunities for K-12 students. In the summer, we offer our first weeklong Comedy Improv Camp for teens.
2012 | Be the Hero
- Drama by George launches our most popular program to date, Be the Hero! A trio of costumed superheroes challenges students to become real-life heroes by protecting their schools from bullies.
- For the first time, we have too many drama clubs for George to teach by himself, so we hire a teaching artist. With multiple actors and instructors, Drama by George has definitely grown beyond its roots as a “one-man show.”
2013 | Moviemakers
- We start Moviemakers, our program that allows theatre students to perform in professionally-produced short digital films.
- Due to popular demand, we offer “sequels” to Stories Alive! and Boys vs. Girls: The Game Show.
2014 | Kylie for President
- Kylie for President becomes our new flagship touring production. Kylie’s story about making wise choices in the face of peer pressure goes on to impact 10,500 students in 45 performances.
- Stop Bullies gives George a chance to connect with teens by telling his story of being targeted by bullies as a kid. So far, he’s presented the talk 76 times for 8000 middle and high school students.
2015 | Advanced Camp
- Advanced Center Stage Camp becomes the newest addition to our summer lineup. Through classes and rehearsals for a one-act play, experienced middle school actors take their skills to the next level.
2016 | The Grit Game Show
- Our new flagship touring production is The Grit Game Show! It’s a motivational assembly about achievement and resilience where students become contestants in an onstage game show. So far, we’ve given 25 performances for 5500 students.
- We launch two series of workshops under the banner of Real Life Drama. Each series uses role-playing and interactive learning to equip students with compassion and empathy (for elementary students) or conflict resolution skills (for middle and high school students).
- When our annual After-Christmas Party for staff rolls around, we have one full-time and six part-time employees to invite. Drama by George has come a long way from its roots!
2017 | What’s Next?
- In the spring, George and Julie celebrate ten years of wedded bliss. In the summer, Center Stage Drama Camp premieres a brand-new play, The Snow White Mystery. In the fall, Drama by George celebrates ten years of serving Louisville educators and students by Bringing Character to Life!
- Coming for the 2017-18 school year: A new marketing campaign to help more schools understand what we offer, and a sequel to The Grit Game Show about setting and achieving goals.
Statistics on this page are estimates which are current as of August 8, 2017.