A row of young children in white shirts stand on the Ford's Theatre stage and speak.
Photo courtesy Ford’s Theatre.

Lincoln Online Oratory Project

Experience the power of oratory in your classroom. This national program for grade 3 – 12 pairs a Ford’s Theatre teaching artist with your classroom to collaborate with educators and students to prepare to perform a speech. This year, educators will also participate in two informative online Ford’s Approach to Oratory sessions and a teacher orientation for comprehensive support. Using the words of great orators like President Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary McLeod Bethune and others, students will learn the historical context of a speech, the power of oratory and the fundamentals of performance and public speaking. As part of this distance learning program, students will:

  • Learn how to analyze and understand complex text
  • Learn our approach to effective public speaking and performance
  • Receive three live online lessons with a professional teaching artist
  • Celebrate with program participants from across the United States in a live virtual culminating event.

At the end of this project, your class is invited to create a video of the speech they learned to showcase their performance skills. All participating class videos will be shared on our YouTube channel and potentially featured on our website.

Applications for the 2023-2024 School Year’s Lincoln Online Oratory Project are now closed.

Save the date! Our video watch party will take place on Friday, April 19, 2024.

Featured Projects

Burgettstown Area Elementary Center: The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
Benjamin Banneker Academic High School: What Does Democracy Mean to Me? by Mary McLeod Bethune
Clear Spring Middle School: What to the Slave is Your Fourth of July? By Frederick Douglass

Meet Our Teaching Artists

A selected number of schools will have the privilege of receiving virtual classroom instruction to improve performance and public speaking techniques.

Headshot of Heidi Fortune.

Heidi Fortune

Heidi Fortune is a professional actor and teaching artist. Heidi holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts and a MA in Arts Administration from Winthrop University. Heidi has worked as a teaching artist for over a decade, most recently at Boys & Girls Clubs in South Carolina. At Boys & Girls Clubs, Heidi worked with hundreds of children to produce over 30 plays and 50 original student films. The program she created won many grants and awards, including a highly competitive National Endowment for the Arts grant and a national award from Comcast, Disney, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This is her seventh year working with Ford’s Education.

Victoria Reinsel

Victoria Reinsel is a classically trained professional actor, director, and teaching artist. She holds an MFA and M.Litt in Shakespeare in Performance from Mary Baldwin College. Victoria has worked with Shakespeare Theatre Company, American Shakespeare Center, Orlando Shakespeare, Taffety Punk, Chesapeake Shakespeare, among others, and she co-founded Brave Spirits Theatre

Headshot for Tamekia Jackson.

Tamekia Jackson

A Houston native, Tamekia is an educator and performer who loves the power of stories. As a teaching artist, Tamekia enjoys helping students take ownership of their creative process and building empathetic and respectful spaces that encourage growth. She received her BA from St. Edward’s University and her MA from NYU in Individualized Studies. Tamekia enjoys working in different mediums, including narrative writing, film, and live theater. Tamekia has over twelve years of experience as a teaching artist, and this is her second year with Ford’s Theatre.

Headshot of Lauren Miller.

Lauren Miller

Lauren V. Miller is an educator and director based in Washington, DC. Originally from South Carolina, Lauren has worked at Arena Stage as a Community Engagement fellow and Teaching Artist and currently serves as the Resident Teaching Artist at Young Playwright’s Theatre. She has also worked in After School programs all across the District. Lauren received her BA in Theatre and Education from Converse University and her MFA from Texas Tech University. She is interested in Theatre for Social Change and loves bringing theatre to students with limited access to the arts. This is Lauren’s first year with Ford’s Theatre.