The first collaboration between Sacred Heart of Jesus School and Playmakers of Baton Rouge culminated in the successful production of two plays on the school’s campus.

Fifth- and sixth-graders performed “Law and Order: Fairytale Unit” on March 2, and seventh- and eighth-graders performed “The Little Mermaid Jr.” on March 4. Both productions were in the Sacred Heart of Jesus School gym.

The collaboration is the first time Playmakers has partnered with a school for an After-School Theatre Program, school officials said in a news release.

Playmakers staffed the classes, which were held at the school. Jessica Wilson and Marion Bienvenu served as instructors and directors for the fifth- and sixth-grade production. Bienvenu also was an instructor/director for the seventh- and eighth-grade production, along with Genna Guidry.

“Our instructors had a fabulous time working with the students, and I was just in awe of their productions; they accomplished so much meeting only once a week,” said Danielle Adams Stanfield, Playmakers Education/Tour director.

“For our first after-school endeavor, I don’t think we could have gotten a more perfect school,” said instructor Marion Bienvenu. “The kids were incredible. They were open-minded, polite, and always on top of their game. It was very refreshing to work with them.”

The benefits of drama instruction have been well documented, the release said. Vocal training teaches articulation, projection and self-confidence in public speaking. Cooperation with fellow cast members encourages teamwork and focus is required for scene study and script memorization.

These benefits already have paid off in the Sacred Heart classroom, according to junior high science and religion teacher Jill Saia. Saia’s sixth-grade religion class just completed a project advertising for prophets. Students were directed to create a “help wanted” ad recruiting people to become prophets and were given the choice to create a print ad or a commercial.

“Some of the Playmakers’ participants in the class who would have normally submitted a written ad stood before the class and proudly presented their commercials,” said Saia. “I give full credit to the confidence-building the Playmakers class provided.”

“Participating in the Playmakers class was a great experience for me,” said seventh-grader Amber Glenn, who played Ursula, the Sea Witch, in “The Little Mermaid Jr.” Glenn credits the great Playmakers’ instructors for making the experience so special. “You get an amazing feeling when you go out on stage and see all the faces in the audience,” she added.

“We look forward to working with Playmakers again in the 2016-17 school year,” said Saia, who also serves as the faculty liaison for the seventh- and eighth-grade Playmakers group.