"Kids love to learn with silliness," says Terry Broomberg, who dispenses plenty in her Playing Mantis Creative Adventures, after-school drama classes in District 4J schools. "Each course is a story," she explains, "each class a chapter." In nine classes, one per week, Playing Mantis participants create an original play through role-playing and improvisation. They write songs, choreograph dances, make props and costumes, and stage a performance. "Terry has trust in kids' ability to be creative," says art teacher Annie Hubbird, who has worked in Broomberg's Imagine That summer camps. "I've learned a lot from watching her." A Zimbabwean with a degree from London's Trinity College, Broomberg added a master's in video production from the UO before a year of teaching in South Africa revealed her true calling. "I discovered I was a total clown and a good teacher," she says. Returning to Eugene, Broomberg launched Playing Mantis in 1993. "Terry unlocks creative energies -- opens kids up in positive ways," says writer Joey Blum, who brought Broomberg to rural Lorane Elementary School. "I thought, 'She should be working with adults -- corporate boards!'"