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2017 National Education And Engagement Grant Recipients Announced

The Broadway League is proud to announce the recipients of its twenty-second 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.

“It is a great honor to support arts organizations that are doing the important work of engaging regional communities around the country. These Broadway-based programs consistently have a significant impact on underserved populations by encouraging arts curriculums, offering performing arts-based school field trips, promoting inclusion and providing life-long learning,” commented Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League.  “Our member organizations’ dedication to bringing Broadway to their whole communities ensures that the magic of theatre reaches everyone.”

The recipients of this year’s grants will take part in a range of activities to involve local communities with theatre. These diverse programs use the conventions of theatre to celebrate culture, develop creativity, and support access to arts-based education and learning. Some the activities include songwriting, puppetry, costume design, essay writing and group discussions, among many others.

Touring Broadway shows participating in this year’s recipient programs include: Aladdin, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Chicago, The Color Purple, The King and I, The Lion King, Something Rotten!, and Waitress.

This year’s grant recipients are from the following cities: Appleton, WI; Buffalo, NY; Cincinnati, OH; Des Moines, IA; Greenville, SC; Sacramento, CA; Seattle, WA; Sioux Falls, SD; Tampa, FL; and West Palm Beach, 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 educators and community organizations to create activities that immerse the community and public in theatre. 

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


2017-2018 National Grant Recipients


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

Inspired by The King and I, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, will encourage 50 refugee and local students to embrace their unique cultures and identities to find friendship through the new project, “Getting to Know You.” Over a two-week period, students will see a production of The King and I at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and participate in arts integration based learning experiences. They will celebrate, recognize, and share their culture of origin with each other as they explore the power that the arts have to unite us all.

Shea’s Performing Arts Center – Buffalo, NY

Shea’s will engage children in the Buffalo Public School System with the story, themes, and characters of Disney’s The Lion King in a series of workshops based on a theme, “Who Am I?” Through ten workshops, students will address visual arts through puppetry, environments of the animals featured in Disney’s The Lion King, and create original work. With a field trip to The Buffalo Zoo, students will create a piece of theatre based on the themes of the show, and they will each create their own unique puppet and perform for their class.

Cincinnati Arts Association – Cincinnati, OH

Featured at the Cincinnati Arts Association, “Opening Up” is a three-month arts-in-medicine residency based on the musical Waitress for women who are transitioning from an abusive life situation in Cincinnati, Ohio. The residency will consist of ten classes in writing and ten in dance, attendance at the opening performance of Waitress, and a final presentation of the women’s own stories. Using the story of Waitress, the residency will assist the participants to tap into their own inner creativity and ability to move their lives forward with key collaborators of Cincinnati Arts Association’s Arts in Healing Initiative, Bethany House, and Anna Louise Inn.

Des Moines Performing Arts – Des Moines, IA

Des Moines Performing Arts will partner with the Des Moines Public Schools’ Sisters for Success program to engage young minority women with the Touring Broadway production of The Color Purple. Through various learning opportunities, “I GOT MY SISTERS” will engage 100 young women with Celie’s story of identity, self-empowerment, and sisterhood. Using the novel, film, and Broadway production, these women will develop key strategies for telling their own story and bolster a sense of self through workshops and performances.

Peace Center for the Performing Arts – Greenville, SC

The Peace Center will partner with Southside High School, an area under-resourced school, for “Letters to the World” with the musical The Color Purple. Through a series of poetry writing workshops, youth will be prompted to create poems that examine their personal stories, drawing inspiration from the musical or the novel it is based on. Each activity will be informed from the African-American traditions detailed in The Color Purple, exploring themes of self-discovery, beauty, and resilience. Youth will be empowered to develop and share their own voices on these topics and discuss how their personal journeys relate to those in the production. Students will attend a production of The Color Purple, join a talkback with cast members, and share their work publicaly in a community poetry reading at the Peace Center.

California Musical Theatre/Broadway Sacramento – Sacramento, CA

California Musical Theatre will collaborate with Sheldon High School’s ARTSwork Academy to bring Shakespeare to 36 students with “Brush Up Your Shakespeare Shmakespeare” in conjunction with the national touring production of Something Rotten!. Students from the Advance Theatre Performance course will explore performance-based learning techniques to unlock the language of Shakespeare, as well as study historical literature, musical theatre history, and performance methods. Learning about the historical context of Shakespeare and the Renaissance, students will analyze Shakespearean and musical theatre references found in Something Rotten!. Students will attend the Broadway tour of Something Rotten!, and stay for a post-show Q&A with the cast.

Seattle Theatre Group – Seattle, WA

The Seattle Theatre Group, in collaboration with their partners Melodic Caring Project (MCP) and Disney Theatrical Group, will implement an access and inclusion project that serves a special population of children who are hard to reach for medical reasons involving the musical Aladdin. During September and October of 2017, the project will engage up to 200 children and teens who are terminally ill or suffering from serious medical conditions. This unique program combines direct engagement with a sing-a-long, live streaming technology of the production, provided by MCP, and viewing of a live production of Aladdin at the Paramount Theatre.    

Washington Pavilion – Sioux Falls, SD

The Washington Pavilion is partnering with the Black Hills Playhouse/Dakota Players and DakotAbilities, a local organization that assists adults with disabilities, for a seven-week theatre workshop. This interactive residency for 16 adults with disabilities will feature discussions about the history of musical theatre, choreography and vocal workshops, as well as theatre games for the participants. These workshops will culminate in seeing a performance of the Broadway tour of Chicago at the Washington Pavilion.

Straz Center/Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center – Tampa, FL

The Straz Center is hosting a 16-week in-school music project engaging high school singer-songwriters entitled, “Beyond Beautiful: A Coffee Shop Cabaret.” Students will explore the lyrics and music of Carole King to discover the stories and emotions behind her music. Guided by the Patel Conservatory teaching artists, students will use their findings to create and perform original songs that parallel King’s inspirations and motivations. The project will culminate in a live “coffee house” performance hosted by the Straz Center, preceding student and teacher attendance at the touring Broadway production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts – West Palm Beach, FL

Inspired by Catherine Zuber’s visually stunning costumes and the socially relevant themes of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I, the Kravis Center will collaborate to involve economically disadvantaged minority 7th and 8th graders at Conniston Middle School with a master teaching artist on a mixed media costume design project. The students will participate in research, discussion and reflection on the significant issues addressed in the musical which will inform their writing and spark creativity in selecting a character and designing a costume concept. Students will go through the costume design process including analysis, design collaboration, and sketches that will culminate in final large-scale collages that will be exhibited in the Center’s lobby during the run of the show.