Girls Can Play Football, Boys Can Be Unicorns

Urban Gateways touring artist Jeremy Schaefer is an expert at keeping auditoriums full of students entertained with his hilarious and educational storytelling performances. His show 1, 2, 3, Story! combines interactive, original stories with lessons on how stories are crafted (characters, setting, conflict, etc.) – and every performance concludes with a world premiere story created on-the-spot with the audience’s help. Jeremy wrote to share this anecdote from a performance at Evanston’s Willard Elementary on November 17:

The 3rd-4th grade audience was really engaged throughout the show. They were eager to volunteer, quick with questions, and supportive of their peers. At the show’s conclusion, when we created a story together, they decided the story would be about a doctor. When I asked them what the setting should be, they said “She should be playing fantasy football!” So I set up a story with a series of conflicts for them to solve.

The first conflict happened when the doctor was looking for a way to relax after a long day at the hospital and she wandered into a fantasy football draft. The people already there said they didn’t want her to join and sent her away. At this point I asked the audience, what happens next? An audience member decided that the doctor should go home, disguise herself as a man and come back. So the doctor returned to the draft, dressed up as a man, and the people welcomed her in. At this point she did really well, drafted a great team, and made everyone jealous. So when I asked the audience what happens next, they decided that she takes off her mask and shows everyone that girls can play fantasy football too. It was very cool to see the audience push a moral into their story, and they had a lot of fun doing it.

Afterward a lot of the teachers were smiling and the students were really excited. One student came up to me to say that he really liked the story, but he wished the story ended with all of the boys taking off their masks to reveal that they’re all actually unicorns.

Girls can play football. Boys can be unicorns. They all lived happily ever after.



Pictured: Jeremy Schaefer performing at Lee Elementary in Chicago, April 2016.


Thanks to generous Urban Gateways funders like these for helping make awesome programs like this one happen!

Baskin Family Foundation