After-school clubs are based at Hart and are open to all students, ages 5-19, in the surrounding neighborhood. Participants in the Workshop’s extra-curricular activities have the option of attending up to three different of literary clubs. After-school activities run Monday through Wednesday, from 3:15 to 5:30.
The Writing Club
Writing Club members work on a variety of projects throughout the year, writing about art and photography, keeping journals, and penning original stories and essays.
Since the Writing Club’s inception, Hart Middle School has developed a city-wide reputation for artistic excellence, consistently fielding winners in the Parkmont Poetry Contest, the Larry Neal Awards, the District Lines Poetry on Metro Competition, and the Junior League Teen Poetry Contest.
Many Writing Club graduates have continued on to the prestigious Literary Media program at Duke Ellington High School for the Arts.
The Drama Club
Each year, Drama Club members read and discuss a work of classic drama, selecting from among such exemplars as Euripides’ “Medea” and Sophocles’ “Antigone.” The students then interpret the play in their own words, updating it to create an original adaptation. The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop hires a professional director to assist the students in their production, and after months of writing, memorizing lines, and rehearsals, the students perform their work for their friends, their parents, and the surrounding community. The Drama Club’s 2010 and 2011 productions, “R Town” and “The Notorious P.Y.G.,” were made into motion pictures.
Students see up to eight plays each year at the Arena Stage and as many as three productions by the Shakespeare Theatre. Participants have also seen plays at the Studio Theater, the Source Theater, Woolly Mammoth, the Atlas Theater, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and they receive regular visits from theater professionals and educators.
The Literary Magazine Club
The Literary Magazine Club publishes hArtworks, the nation’s only inner-city public middle school literary magazine. hArtworks is featured in the 2011 Poet’s Market as “an outstanding example of what a literary journal can be (for anyone of any age).” Each year, club members produce three issues of hArtworks, distributing over three hundred copies of each to classmates, teachers, parents, and other members of the community. To celebrate the publication of each issue, club members give a reading at a local bookstore, offering signed copies of their work for sale to audience members. Literary Magazine Club members often interview a published author for the magazine. Featured writers have included Cornelius Eady, Alan Cheuse, Arnost Lustig, Toi Derricotte, and Nikki Giovanni.
Since 2005, the Literary Magazine Club has produced two annual publications, Simon Says, featuring the works of students at Simon Elementary, and Voice of the Knight, devoted to writings from Ballou High School.