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The Broadway League
729 Seventh Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10019
CONTACT: Elisa Shevitz
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Broadway League Announces 2009 National Education Grant Recipients
October 27, 2009
Programs Support Arts-in-Education and Audience Development
The Broadway League announced today the recipients of its fourteenth annual National Education Grants. These grants support innovative programs that enable students from coast to coast to experience touring Broadway as a form of artistic expression and as an educational tool.
The 2009 National Education Grants program bestows $5,000 to ten presenters of touring Broadway shows across the U.S. for the development or support of education programs associated with touring productions.
A significant number of touring Broadway shows are featured in the various programs: Dreamgirls, In the Heights, Legally Blonde, South Pacific, Spring Awakening, and Wicked.
This year, organizations were selected from the following cities: Appleton, WI; Atlanta, GA; Costa Mesa, CA; Dallas, TX; Des Moines, IA; Greenville, SC; Rochester, NY; Schenectady, NY; Tampa, FL; and Wichita, KS.
The following three venues are first-time grant recipients:
Orange County Performing Arts Center – Costa Mesa, CA
Dallas Summer Musicals – Dallas, TX
Theater League – Wichita, KS
Since it was founded in 1996, the League’s National Education Grants program has awarded $700,000 in grants to support the education efforts of Broadway presenting organizations. The League administers this program with generous additional financial support from Theatre Development Fund.
During the past year, theatre education professionals at organizations that present touring Broadway productions have worked closely with local teachers and community organizations to create activities that engage young people with theatre and enhance their academic experiences.
“We salute this year’s programs that demonstrate our League-member presenting organizations’ innovation and dedication to education via the performing arts,” commented Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League. “There is nothing as uniquely powerful as the impact of live theatre on impressionable young minds. In addition to expanding their knowledge of the world as interpreted through the artistic expression of plays and musicals, they also become inspired to make theatregoing a regular part of their future.”
This year, the ten programs that were awarded grants of $5,000 each are as follows:
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Appleton, WI
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will lead a partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Wisconsin-based initiative Project Girl that will explore the effects of media messages and stereotypes on adolescent girls. “Mirror Image” will challenge 20 girls and their mentors to think critically about the messages they encounter in entertainment, becoming better-informed consumers. Taking inspiration from Elle Woods’ struggle against stereotypes in Legally Blonde the Musical, “Mirror Image” will encourage these young women to define themselves and identify their potential. “Mirror Image” will incorporate the arts as a tool to build confidence and combat messages that contribute to negative body image.
The Fox Theatre – Atlanta, GA
The musical In The Heights is a celebration of community, specifically the Latino community in a New York City neighborhood. The Fox Theatre will provide approximately 100 children, mostly Latinos, from metro Atlanta after-school programs and an in-school drama group with tickets to see the musical. Following the performance, the children will attend a panel discussion with community experts who will discuss giving back to their community. The children will then work with these experts to create a project through which they will learn about the experiences of their parents and grandparents. Teaching artists will then work with the children to express the information gleaned from their elders via creative work, culminating in performances at various sites.
Orange County Performing Arts Center – Costa Mesa, CA
The Orange County Performing Arts Center’s “Takin’ Broadway to the Heights” project is a new initiative modeled after the Center’s nationally acclaimed Summer at the Center program, which provides performance workshops to disadvantaged high school youth. The Center’s goal is to broaden audience interest in musical theatre by introducing underserved populations to culturally relevant Broadway productions. “Takin’ Broadway to the Heights” offers professional artist workshops integrated with the Center’s presentation of In the Heights to students at Santa Ana High School, and culminates in an opportunity for students to attend a performance of the show.
Dallas Summer Musicals – Dallas, TX
Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) will use funds from The Broadway League to expand the educational component of the Stage Right Positive Action summer program for at-risk youth by incorporating musical theatre/arts education, specifically themes presented in DSM’s presentation of Dreamgirls at The Music Hall. After learning about the show through a curriculum enhanced by a custom study guide, students from approximately 30 area agencies and community centers will participate in an essay/poster contest. This contest builds on the 12-week Positive Action curriculum (created in partnership with the Dallas Police Department) which teaches that positive actions lead to success.
Civic Center of Greater Des Moines – Des Moines, IA
The themes of love, war and prejudice that run through Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific are as alive today as they were in the 1940s. The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines will invite 100 students from five central Iowa high schools to explore these themes as part of a multi-curricular learning opportunity in the spring of 2010. Both in the classroom and at the Civic Center, the students will explore the era of South Pacific and the significance of its themes to musical theatre. After exploring these themes from historical, social and artistic viewpoints, students will apply them in a modern context and discuss their contemporary relevance.
The Peace Center – Greenville, SC
The Peace Center and Gable Middle School, a high-poverty rural school, will develop a character education program using themes from Wicked. Drama and choral students will view Wicked, meet cast members, and tour backstage. In preparation, students will study the thematic, musical and dramatic elements of one song from the show each month. Through journaling and guided discussions, students will then create a musical based on themes from Wicked and other shows, to be performed in the spring. Workshops with a professional singer and actor will enhance students’ skills and offer a valuable opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise be available.
Rochester Broadway Theatre League – Rochester, NY
“Spring Awakening – An Overture to Life” provides an opportunity for junior and senior level high school students from the greater Rochester area to examine issues of social change, confusion, and moral ambiguity as they move forward in their developmental journey to adulthood. Through a variety of experiences, including a viewing of Spring Awakening at the Auditorium Theatre, they will work with local agencies through class-related activities to meet NYS Standards for Learning. Students will better understand and develop the skills necessary to break down the walls they encounter and come to realize the importance of open lines of communication between their peers, as well as with the adults in their lives.
Proctors (Arts Center and Theatre of Schenectady, Inc.) – Schenectady, NY
Using the musical Wicked and the popular novel on which it is based, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Proctors will facilitate a unique exploration of arts, literature and human behaviors to promote social change for 12th grade students at Schenectady High School. Workshops will take place with specially trained teaching artists, using the novel, the show and improv techniques to focus on the show’s themes. They will address the growing problem of bullying in schools and how our actions have consequences, creating life-changing events for us as well as others throughout life.
Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center – Tampa, FL
This two-pronged project will create collaboration with five Tampa Bay area schools to engage up to 100 students in six weeks of activities, culminating in a visit to Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (TBPAC) to see In The Heights. Led by a scenic design teaching artist, students at two secondary schools will do a site survey of their neighborhoods and create set designs that reflect their neighborhood history. Separately, dance teaching artists will engage fifth graders at three elementary schools in learning Latin dances for six weeks, culminating in a “Loco Caliente Ballroom” competition at TBPAC. Students will meet project-related show crew in a post-show talk back.
Theatre League – Wichita, KS
Theatre League will partner with Wichita West High School to enhance students’ understanding of the “Green” movement and how environmental responsibility initiatives are influencing theatre productions, as well as regular day-to-day life. By incorporating field trips, speakers, workshops and seeing a performance of Wicked (a theatre community leader in green activities), the students will deepen their knowledge about how to sustain our world in an environmentally friendly way. Representatives from the town of Greensburg, Kansas, which is being rebuilt Green after a devastating tornado, as well as members from the Wicked cast and crew, will speak with students to provide history of the movement and encourage ways to live that promotes being Green. Participating students will be encouraged to continue what they have learned by planting a garden at their school and beginning their own Green Club.
In addition to the National Education Grants program, the League also administers similar grants for education programs affiliated with Broadway productions in New York City each year.
The Broadway League, founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 600-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in over 240 cities across the U.S. and Canada, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry. Each year, League members bring Broadway to more than 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada. www.BroadwayLeague.com
For more information on The Broadway League’s education programs, call Rachel Reiner at (212) 703-0215.