Project Description

The Billings Gazette/Bob Zellar

Colin McRae, Marky Hilario, Emily Rapacz (L-R)
and Lyndi Hampton (on bed) star as the
Schnitzer family in
the Venture Theatre
production of
Paper Candles

Paper Candles is a unique teaching tool which incorporates drama, music and oral history to tell the true story of events that occurred in Billings, Montana, in 1993. It can easily be adapted into existing curricula and/or staged as a full-scale school theatrical production.

The drama project is based upon the award winning book, The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate by Janice I. Cohn. Described by American Bookseller as “a must have book for all ages – child and adult,” The Christmas Menorahs was chosen as a notable children’s trade book in the field of social studies by The National Council for the Social Studies and The Children’s Book Council which praised the story as “a powerful narrative about how two children, their families, and a community resolved to stand together against bigotry and hatred.”

Performance at Whitwell Middle School, Whitwell, Tennessee

Paper Candles vividly recounts this uniquely American story using drama and music to entertain, as well as to teach some crucial lessons in: 

  • Bullying prevention 
  • The power of the bystander
  • Making moral choices
  • Prejudice reduction
  • Non-violent crisis resolution
  • Social studies and history
  • Character education
  • Holocaust education  

Funding Options:

Cast from performance at Whitwell Middle School, Whitwell, Tennessee

  • This is an approved character education/Holocaust education project
  • This drama project is eligible for funding under the following categories:
    • Bullying prevention
    • Title IV - Part B, for afterschool enrichment 
    • Character education
    • Holocaust education
    • PTA/PTO
  • School purchase orders are accepted  


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