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The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. Announces Recipients of the 2007 “League Educator Apple Award”

(New York, NY – February 14, 2007) - Today, the League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., the national trade organization for the commercial theatre industry, announced the recipients for the 2007 “League Educator Apple Award.”

“For the past five years, the League’s Education Committee has honored educators, administrators, and school district heads from around the country for their commitment to arts education, and their work in collaboration with League-member venues that present touring Broadway shows,” commented Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director, The League of American Theatres and Producers. “Through this award, the League encourages the ongoing development of theatre education programs around the country, and helps to develop a future generation of theatregoers.”

This year’s award recipients have been recognized for their leadership and creativity, as well as their dedication, in bringing arts education into the classroom. Up to four education teams may be awarded each year.

The 2007 recipients are Jean Toole of Liberty High School, in Liberty, South Carolina (nominated by the Peace Center for the Performing Arts); Kevin Coughlin of Wilson Foundation Academy and Kathleen Coughlin of Willink Middle School, in Rochester, New York (nominated by the Rochester Broadway Theatre League); Maria Brent of Middleton High School, in Tampa, Florida (nominated by the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center); and Kathleen Dwyer of Kickemuit Middle School, in Warren, Rhode Island (Nominated by the Providence Performing Arts Center).


Jean Toole, Liberty High School
Liberty, SC

The committee honors Ms. Toole’s collaboration with Liberty High School and the Peace Center. Ms. Toole has actively been bringing students to Broadway shows at the Peace Center every season since 1993. Participating touring Broadway productions during the 2005-2006 school year included The Boy Friend and Movin’ Out. Ms. Toole has also served as Liberty High School’s “Teacher Connection” representative to the Peace Outreach Program since 1999. Students participated last year in artist-directed workshops in critical review of theatre, staging and design, acting auditions and stage movement, and participated in a year-long facilitated writing activity which documented their improved capacity to engage in each subsequent theatre experience on intellectual, emotional and social grounds. This project also strengthened an existing partnership between the Peace Center and the Pickens County School District, shining positive light on the value of the arts in education and creating the possibility for future programs to develop with an even wider impact.

Kevin Coughlin, Wilson Foundation Academy and Kathleen Coughlin, Willink Middle School
Rochester, NY

The committee honors Mr. and Mrs. Coughlin’s multi-year collaboration with Wilson Foundation Academy, Willink Middle School and the Rochester Broadway Theatre League Middle School Project, where participating touring Broadway productions over the last few years have included Les Misérables, The Lion King and Annie. Mr. Coughlin, an instrumental and music teacher at the Wilson Foundation Academy, was the first educator to participate in the program. Within his school, the program became an inter-disciplinary project that brought different teachers and curriculums together to prepare students for the live theatre experience. Ms. Coughlin, a middle school music and chorus teacher at Willink Middle School, presented her students with a major unit on the American Musical Theatre and brought her passion and knowledge to infuse her students with an appreciation of the art form. She encouraged her district’s involvement and incorporated over 350 eighth graders in the first year.

Maria Brent, Middleton High School
Tampa, FL

The committee honors Ms. Brent’s collaboration with Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and Middleton High School. Ms. Brent is a committed arts educator who brings innovative teaching ideas to her classroom. She is dedicated to introducing the performing arts to her inner-city and underserved students, often going above and beyond her required duties. She was instrumental in coordinating the activities surrounding the After Wicked/After Oz: A Broadway Sequel Project for grades 9 through 12. This project provided a creative path for continued and expanded learning experiences in reading, dramatic writing and character development while introducing students to the live performing arts. It established collaborative relationships between the Center, local artists, school and touring Broadway shows, providing a more diverse level of exposure not available in the school system, than the individual participants alone could provide.

Kathleen Dwyer, Kickemuit Middle School
Warren, Rhode Island

The committee honors Ms. Dwyer’s collaboration with Kickemuit Middle School and Providence Performing Arts Center. Ms. Dwyer, a visual arts teacher, implemented The Lion King Tree of Life Carousel project with her school as part of Providence Performing Arts Center’s ArtReach initiative. While other schools participated, Ms. Dwyer’s project most personified the intent of the program on all levels through the integration of art, science, critical thinking, planning, research, execution, comparison and reward. She also worked with a local antique gallery to display the students’ work, bringing the community into the project.

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To continue to develop this and future generations of theatregoers, the League engages in various audience development and marketing activities. Among these programs are “Kids’ Night on Broadway®” (www.KidsNightOnBroadway.com), a program in which parents take their children for free to the theatre, and “Family First Nights,” a national program providing underserved families with the opportunity to attend theatre on a regular basis.

The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., founded in 1930 as the League of New York Theatres and operating under the “Live Broadway” trademark, 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 240 North American cities, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and across the U.S. and Canada.

For further information on the League Educator Apple Award, call Rachel Reiner at (212) 703-0215 or email, rreiner@broadway.org