Rikki Jo Hickey

Rikki Jo Hickey is an actor, professional storyteller and theatre director. She earned a B.A. in Theatre at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande and M.F.A. in Theatre Directing from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. 

Rikki is also a substitute teacher in the public schools. She has taught acting, puppetry, creative drama, mask making, storytelling, and playwriting to people ages three to 87 in classroom settings for the last 20 years, sharing her passion for the performing arts with others.

Mission Statement:

As a teaching artist, Rikki works closely with schools to develop residencies that fit their and their students’ needs. Rikki believes the collaborative art of theatre is a transformative and empowering tool for students and their educators. She teaches essential components (including teamwork, dedication, goal-setting, and constructive communication) specific to each residency’s objectives and appropriate for all residency participants. Rikki encourages students to explore and take joy in creating theatrical art, and she honors each participant as an individual.


Sample Residencies:

Creative Drama: This residency encourages creative play while students learn about and explore their bodies’ relationship to the space around them. Students learn mobility, creativity, language skills, imaginative play, spatial awareness. (Grades K-3)


Puppetry Design and/or Performances: Students learn about puppetry styles and history, then build their own puppets. Students explore goal-setting, collaborative planning, motor skills,and find joy in creating art with their hands. Types of Puppetry: Finger/Hand Puppets (grades 1-3), Sock Puppets (grades 2-8), Rod Puppets (grades 4-12), Shadow Puppets (grades 4-12), Hand/Mouth Puppets (grades 6-12).  

Rikki can create a puppet program that ties into literature/language arts classes currently taught at the school.


Mask Making and Mask Acting: Students learn a brief history of masks and then design and build their own masks. Each student then develops a character/story for their own mask. This residency teaches creativity, storytelling skills, goal-setting, patience, planning skills, body-in-space movement, and communication skills. (Grades 6-12). This residency could be a primer for the Playwriting, School Play, or Classroom Plays residency.


Classroom Plays: Students write and perform short (usually five minutes), small-cast plays to promote literature lessons. These plays can be performed in small groups in front of classmates and/or parents. Students learn storytelling skills, theater terminology, reading comprehension skills, public speaking, creativity, teamwork/group collaboration. (Grades 3-8). Advance planning and coordination with literature/language arts instructors at the school would be helpful for this residency if tie-ins to current classes are desired.


School Play: Rikki directs students in a school play that is both age-appropriate and standards-based. Students learn teamwork, reading comprehension, dedication, public speaking skills, theater terminology, and creative collaboration. And enjoy the fun of doing live theater!


Playwriting: Students learn theater terminology, elements of a good script, storytelling and writing skills, and public speaking. Plays are workshopped within the classroom; students explore their creativity and learn to participate in constructive dialogue about the work of others using non-judgmental language. And they have fun! The residency can culminate in a school performance for classmates, families, friends. (Grades 5-12). This residency could be a primer for the Classroom Plays or School Play residency.


Scenic Design: Students learn about the technical aspects of theater (scenery, lighting, properties, costuming, and sound) and design their own set on a diorama (grades 2-8) or build their own set model (grades 9-12). This residency is especially appreciated by students who prefer to work “behind the scenes” rather than perform onstage. This residency could run in conjunction with the Classroom Plays or School Play residency.


Costume Design: Students learn about the technical aspects of theater (costuming, scenery, lighting, properties, and sound) and design a costume for their favorite toy (grades 2-5) or for themselves (grades 6-12). This residency is especially appreciated by students who prefer to work “behind the scenes” rather than perform onstage. This residency could run in conjunction with the Classroom Plays or School Play residency.


Socio-Political Theatre Workshops: This residency is not about politics but is a guided exploration of problem-solving and constructive techniques that students can incorporate into their lives at school and at home! Based on Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (TO). Students participate in a variety of improvised situations and problem-solve by discussing appropriate and constructive ways to handle such situations. Topics can include but are not limited to conflicts between students, bullying/bullying prevention, healthy lifestyle choices, managing stress, approaching adults for help, using non-judgmental language, etc. School performances are possible. (Grades 2-12). This residency requires advance preparation and planning. Coordination between Rikki and a school counselor is required to select among the topics that educators (and students) feel are important to explore. Topics must be approved by school administrators and educators. 


Staff and Community Offerings: 

Workshops/Inservice Trainings:

— Workshops for educators on movement activities, storytelling, puppetry, theater exercises, etc., for incorporating into their work with students.

— Short demonstrations, trainings, or workshops for educators about bringing literature to life for students.

— Trainings on using Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) techniques in the classroom. Educators, staff, and administrators can learn how to intervene in conflicts with and among students using TO techniques, explore the dynamics of interdisciplinary collaboration between Theater and Education, use and encourage non-judgmental language when communicating with students, etc.

Facilities and Supplies: 

Classrooms work well for Rikki’s non-movement residencies (e.g., Scenic Design). Her movement-based residencies work best in open spaces.

Material/Supply Costs:

Please email ACE Outreach Coordinator [email protected] for current cost per student for materials and supplies for specific residencies.

Connection to other Subjects:  Literature/Language Arts, Visual Arts, Social Studies, Movement Arts, Life Skills

  • CLIENT pre-K through grade 12; Adults; Senior Adults
  • TAGS