FEBRUARY 5 AND 8, 2013

Performances to Celebrate President Lincoln's Birthday

Washington, D.C. — More than 240 Washington-area elementary and middle school students will perform a selection of President Abraham Lincoln’s speeches on the Ford’s Theatre stage on February 5 and 8, at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., as part of Ford’s Theatre Society’s fifth-annual Target Oratory Festival. This year’s program, Through Lincoln’s Words, features students who have benefitted from the integration of historical speeches and letters into History and English classes to help strengthen their understanding of history and improve their public-speaking skills.

Students from D.C.’s Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School, Takoma Education Campus and the Arlington, VA, George Washington Middle School take to the Ford’s Theatre stage on February 5, to present Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the House Divided speech and First and Second Inaugural Addresses.

Students from Cesar Chavez Public Charter School–Parkside Campus, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, Watkins Elementary School and Montgomery County’s Francis Scott Key Middle School will present Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the House Divided speech and First and Second Inaugural Addresses the morning of February 8.

“The Ford’s Theatre Education Department is thrilled to commemorate Lincoln’s birthday month with the fifth-annual Target Oratory Festival,” said Sarah Jencks, Director of Education Programming. “Working with students to perform Abraham Lincoln’s great words on the Ford’s stage has become a meaningful tradition, one that affirms our mission of celebrating Lincoln’s legacy.”

In preparation for the Target Oratory Festival, Ford’s Teaching Artists visit each participating class five times, working with classroom teachers to help students bring great speeches alive . Throughout the artist residency, students strengthen historical understanding, reading comprehension and rhetorical skills while building a solid understanding of the great oration of Abraham Lincoln.

Ford’s Theatre oratory programs are supported by Target and Ford’s Theatre 2012-2013 education sponsor BP America.

Tickets to the Target Oratory Festival
Tickets to the Target Oratory Festival events can be reserved in advance at or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787(Ticketmaster fees apply). Tickets are free the day of the festival at the Ford's Theatre Box Office (511 Tenth Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20004).

For more information on how local schools or teachers can participate, please email the Education Department at Limited space is available for media to attend. Interested media should contact Lauren Beyea at or (202) 434-9543.

Ford’s Theatre Society
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

The Ford’s Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford’s as living, working theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford’s for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith and Necessary Sacrifices, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. Under the leadership of Wayne R. Reynolds, Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus (Chairman  2007 to 2012), the mission of Ford’s Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric Spiegel, Ford’s enters a second phase of strategic planning to ensure the organization’s place as a national destination for exploring Lincoln’s legacy and the American experience through the intersection of history, performance and education.

For more information on Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, please visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Beyea at