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2016 National Education and Engagement Grant Recipients Announced

The Broadway League is proud to announce the recipients of its twenty-first annual National Education and Engagement Grants.  These grants support inspiring and inventive programs for a wide range of participants to experience and understand Broadway performances as a form of artistic expression and a powerful educational tool. 

The National Education and Engagement Grants program presents ten organizations with grants of $5,000 each to help them develop and maintain programming associated with touring Broadway productions.

“We are thrilled to welcome various performing arts centers this year as they continue to illustrate the importance of an arts-based education,” commented Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League.  “Commitment to teaching impressionable minds inclusivity, literacy skills, community advocacy, self-awareness, and more through the magic of Broadway is essential to the growth of young individuals, and livelihood of the Broadway community.”

The recipients of this year’s grants will engage in a range of activities to educate young minds on theatre tradition. From arts-based workshops to creative writing and music classes, students will learn about all facets of the theatre industry.  Some programs will directly interact with the storyline of the play and the book it was based on, such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Students will also explore the themes of The Sound of Music and re-create a scene from the show.

Touring Broadway shows participating in this year’s recipient programs include: An American in Paris, Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Finding Neverland, Fun Home, The King and I, Motown the Musical, Something Rotten!, and The Sound of Music.

This year’s grant recipients are from the following cities: Appleton, WI; Baltimore, MD; Denver, CO; Kalamazoo, MI; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Schenectady, NY; and Tampa, FL.

Since it was founded in 1996, The Broadway League’s Education and Engagement Grants program has awarded $1.2 million in grants to support the education efforts of Broadway and Touring Broadway presenting organizations. The League administers this program with generous additional financial support from Theatre Development Fund. In addition to the National Education and Engagement Grants program, the League also administers similar grants for programs affiliated with Broadway productions in New York City each year.

During the past year, theatre 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. 

This year, the ten programs that were awarded grants of $5,000 each are as follows

2016-2017 National Grant Recipients

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Inc. – Appleton, WI

Inspired by Finding Neverland, thirty at-risk middle school students from Velocity Academy in Neenah, Wisconsin will participate in a project called “Made of Stars” at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Students will participate in a series of playwriting and performance workshops that emphasize the importance of creativity and imagination as a therapeutic method. “Made of Stars” aims to use playwriting and performance to establish a creative save space for the students at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The project will culminate with a professional reading of selected students’ work and attendance at a performance of Finding Neverland.

Hippodrome Foundation, Inc. – Baltimore, MD

Twenty Baltimore County theatre teachers will attend five workshop sessions at the Hippodrome Theatre that will improve the teachers’ writing skills and provide a better skillset for their students. Using the production of Something Rotten! as a framework, the professional development workshops will focus on playwriting and performance critique. Teachers will receive one continuing professional development credit and have the opportunity to apply skills developed from the workshops after attending a performance of Something Rotten!

Denver Center for the Performing Arts – Denver, CO

“Curiosity and Experience: Writing for the Stage” is a residency-based project for forty-five low-income 11th and 12th grade high school students and their Language Arts classrooms in conjunction with the shows Fun Home and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Students will have the opportunity to attend five ninety-minute sessions examining topics such as identity, family, community, and relationships through graphs and non-verbal communication. Students will also attend a performance of each show and participate in post-show talk-backs during their presentations at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Miller Auditorium / Western Michigan University – Kalamazoo, MI

Cal Street and Bertha McNeal from the Velvelettes will teach four music classes to Kalamazoo Public School students ranging from grades six through twelve. The classes will explore the history and music of Motown looking at the cultural and social impact that the music made on America and in Kalamazoo in association with the presentation of Motown the Musical at the Miller Auditorium. The fifty student participants will also get to visit the Motown Museum in Detroit, Michigan. Students will write essays reflecting upon their experience that will be posted on the Miller Auditorium’s Backstage Pass blog.

Louisville Theatrical Association – Louisville, KY

In a partnership with the Newburg Boys & Girls Club in Louisville, Louisville Theatrical Association will facilitate a twelve-week immersive workshop series exploring musical theatre and the themes of The Sound of Music, including compassion, community service, and etiquette.  Students will learn the elements of musical theatre and re-create a scene from the show; they will compare and contrast the dance style of the show to current styles; and work with a choreographer to create a hip-hop dance with a song from the show.  The workshop experience will culminate with attendance at a performance of The Sound of Music followed by a dinner with the participants and their guests. 

Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Nashville, TN

In an effort to promote cross-curricular studies with math, performing arts, and literature, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center will engage thirty-four Metro Nashville Public Middle School students in a multi-week exploration of the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  Through three interactive, pre-performance workshops, students will examine the book upon which the play is based, work on math problems within the book, and learn how the book was adapted into a play.  Workshops will be led by a local, award-winning math instructor who has written a full math curriculum based on the book and a local playwright who has expertise in adapting historical and classical writings into plays.  The students will see the production and participate in a post-performance talk-back with cast members.

Omaha Performing Arts – Omaha, NE

Drawing from the themes of Beautiful- The Carole King Musical, Omaha Performing Arts will invite community members to engage in creating original songs inspired by the show.  The Beautiful- The Carole King Musical Songwriting Experience will have multiple touch points over the course of several months leading up to the Omaha performances of Beautiful, including a songwriting workshop led by local musicians, an all-ages songwriting competition, a community showcase, and other activities designed to engage the community in the show.  The top twenty-five songwriters will win tickets to attend Beautiful and participate in a post-show talk-back with the cast.

Kimmel Center, Inc. – Philadelphia, PA

This program will be a collaborative exploration for the Kimmel Center’s after-school musical theatre program, Showstoppers, along with students aged 13 to 18 from Philadelphia Young Playwrights.  Beginning with information about the real-life story that inspired The King and I, as well as the original novel and film on which it was based, students led by teaching artists will explore the text for clues illustrating how differently social issues were viewed in the 1950s.  They will re-write the story, imagining how the same issues (gender roles, race relations, ethnic identity, etc.) could be dealt with in 2017.  The project will culminate in the students attending a matinee of the musical and a talkback with actors in the company. 

Arts Center and Theatre of Schenectady, Inc. – Schenectady, NY

Proctors will partner with the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants for a program entitled New Cities, New Lives.  A professional scene painter and an art therapist will work with two groups of refugee families located in Albany, NY, to facilitate the creation of a series of paintings in a series of six two-hour workshops.  Participants will learn painting techniques while expressing their unique personal stories on the canvas.  The theme of the paintings will be “Hope and Opportunity” and will explore the devastating effects of war and displacement on individuals and their hopes and dreams, as depicted in An American in Paris.  The paintings will be exhibited at Proctors for the tour premiere of An American in Paris which the participants will attend.

Straz Center for the Performing Arts – Tampa, FL

The Straz Center will provide a new ten-week, in-school arts learning project that will bring together disadvantaged elementary and high school students with senior citizens in an exploration of what it means to grow up.  Guided by the story of Peter Pan, the participants will create and perform their own vignettes informed by intergenerational interviews focusing on the power of storytelling and how history and personal experiences inspire the stories that are shared between families and communities.  The project will culminate with all participants invited to the Straz Center, where the students will perform their original vignettes for the seniors and attend a performance of the touring Broadway production of Finding Neverland.