The Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative

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What strikes me is that there’s a very fine line between success and failure. Just one ingredient can make the difference.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
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Providing America’s youth access to theatre through the power of education

About the Initiative

The Andrew Lloyd Webber initiative provides students at all levels with enhanced theatre education to initiate meaningful relationships with theatre in childhood and open doors for pursuing theatre as children become young adults. By fostering lifelong engagement with theatre through educational avenues, we provide diverse young people across the nation newfound access to industry success.

The initiative is how we rebuild the established path to working in the theatre industry. We reach students across the nation at an early age to make theatre transcend background, creating access to industry opportunities for all who seek them.

The initiative provides classroom grants to create or enhance theatre programs in our nation’s under-resourced schools. Scholarships for afterschool and summer training programs, and tuition support for students pursuing theatre in higher education, provide support on the individual level to students determined to make a career in theatre.

The initiative expands The Wing’s legacy commitment to education and diversity. We expose diverse people and places to theatre, using performing arts education to give every student the opportunity to play a role in the American theatre.

Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation funds the initiative with an influential 1.3 million dollar three-year grant. The project is an extension of the work Webber, a multi-Tony Award winning composer-producer, is doing to promote and fund arts education through the foundation in the UK.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative encompasses three components to bring students everywhere theatre education at every level:

  1. Classroom Resources: Providing grant funding directly to under-resourced public schools to provide instruments, dance floors, lighting grids, and other necessary materials to create new, and enhance existing, in-school theatre programs.
  2. Training Scholarships: Funding goes towards covering the costs associated with sending select students to afterschool and summer training programs.
  3. 4-Year University Scholarships: Financial support is provided to select students pursuing theatre studies at the University level.  

 

The Classroom Resources initiative grants cycle ended September 30th.  

The Training Scholarships application portal is currently closed.

The 4-Year Partial University Scholarships applications is currently closed.

This initiative is made possible by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

Recipients

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Broome Street Academy

Broome Street Academy

Broome Street Academy (New York, NY) for $12,000 to invest in their theatre arts program. Broome Street Academy is a tuition-free public charter high school devoted to preparing New York City’s most vulnerable students for a successful future beyond high school. BSA opened in 2011 and now has 330 students from all five NYC boroughs in grades 9-12.  The Performance and Theatre program is built into the eleventh grade curriculum—giving students access to learn about various forms of theatre, practice their technical skills, attend professional performances, and take pride in creating their own performances and productions. Support from the Initiative will allow for expansion of the theatre program to produce work in a fully equipped space with working lights and sound. After a recent renovation financed through the sale of air-rights, the students have a theatre for the first time, but have no equipment for that performance space. This grant will allow students to fully explore the possibilities of the theatrical arts, develop a range of performing skills, and stage new, powerful productions.

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Calumet New Tech High School

Calumet New Tech High School

Calumet New Tech High School (Gary, IN) for $15,000 to purchase and install lighting equipment in service of productions like this spring’s The Wiz. Calumet New Tech High School serves a portion of the community of Gary, Indiana and surrounding area. This area is culturally diverse yet with a strong sense of community that blurs racial and socioeconomic lines. Due to reduced funding the building and theatre equipment have fallen into disrepair over 30 years of use. The administration has committed to increasing the inclusion of arts by adding full time music and theatre teachers. This year they are team teaching a musical theatre class with plans to produce The Wiz on stage, but don't have the resources to provide all the supplies needed. The current school administration recognizes that supporting the theatre arts serves as a catalyst for unifying the students and the community at a time when our nation grows more polarized. Theatre can be a powerful tool of expression, education, and unification. It can also provide inspiration for students to look toward and experience lives beyond their circumstances, and to strive to affect change through artistic expression. This once thriving school was a bastion of the arts at its peak, and with a new music and theatre teachers on staff, they seek to restore it to its full potential.

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Covington High School

Covington High School

Covington High School (Covington, LA) for $35,000 for technical support resources and new instruments. Located in south Louisiana, approximately one hour north from New Orleans and students are bused from a 30 mile radius. The culture and socioeconomics of the students changed dramatically in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now a larger and more diverse population, parent occupations range from rural fishermen in Lake Pontchartrain to professionals. The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance presents an average of nine theatrical productions annually. Licensing House MTI, notes Covington High as producing more than any other school in the United States. The grant will fund resources for every aspect of the theatre program, funding many resources to improve theatre instruction and allow every student who wishes to participate the opportunity to do so. There is especially high demand for Piano classes, however, the program struggles to keep enough instruments in working order.  The program has 15 5-octave keyboards that have no pedals, and two 88 key digital pianos that are 20 years old. Students playing more advanced pieces need full touch sensitive pianos with pedals. This grant will greatly improve classroom instruction with equipment that is more closely aligned with current trends in theatrical equipment and technology.

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Fern Creek High School

Fern Creek High School

Fern Creek High School (Louisville, KY) for $14,000 to further theatre instruction – focusing on equipment to formalize learning in scenic, costume, light , sound, hair/makeup, and props for design and construction. Fern Creek High School (FCHS) opened its doors in 1923 and today, FCHS is one of only three high schools in the district offering the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Communication and Media Arts program, which includes Instrumental/Vocal Music and Theatre; among other concentrations. Also, more than 125 languages are spoken in this school’s large and diverse school district. Technical theatre instruction is critical to prepare students for careers in the theatre. Currently, the only technical theatre instruction taking place at FCHS comes from reading a textbook, watching videos, and drawing designs for set, lighting, or costumes. Currently students do not have access to good, hands-on experience constructing the elements of technical theatre. By concentrating on the connections between design and construction in all disciplines connected to production, students will learn skills to allow them to work in a theatre, or other technical areas. Students will also be able to use these skills and equipment in the production of full plays to start building portfolios before they graduate, giving them better chances of entering a theatre program in college. They would also have the opportunity to pursue a career or apprenticeship in a theatre immediately out of high school.

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Fort Walton Beach High School

Fort Walton Beach High School

Fort Walton Beach High School (Fort Walton Beach, FL) for $22,000 to create a safer performance space for the school’s active theatre program.  FWBHS is located in the panhandle of Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico in an area where the school population is largely influenced by the military and its support industries. The school’s auditorium facility was built in the 1960’s, and as arts funding is a low priority in the district, the rigging system, curtains, and lighting systems are damaged and unsafe for the production level that the faculty and student body are capable of accomplishing. The program is committed to safety, quality performance, and excellence in theatre—even with limited resources. Every student in the program helps with the productions-- sets are built by the 13 to 18 year olds in the program under the direction of faculty. Teachers feel that ownership of the work makes a positive difference in the culture of the school. Fort Walton has a reputation as one of the strongest theatre departments in the state of Florida, producing quality plays that showcase the talents of students and brings value to the community--Producing challenging work that not only is entertaining and provocative, but that is also engaging and relevant to their audience.

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Gocio Elementary School

Gocio Elementary School

Gocio Elementary School (Sarasota, FL) for $15,000 to create a safer dance space for the school’s active theatre program.  Gocio Elementary School has invested heavily in arts programming as a way to engage its diverse student body in active learning. It is the only Florida elementary school to offer drama, music, dance and art to every student, and has provided many professional learning opportunities to arts and regular classroom teachers in integrating arts into everyday classroom lessons. As a result, the importance of the arts at Gocio has grown over the years and they play an integral role in everyday instruction. These efforts have been recognized by The Florida Alliance for Arts Education which has named Gocio as a Florida Arts Model School since 2010. To engage its diverse student body in active learning, Gocio Elementary (the Owls) has made a significant investment in arts education and is the only district elementary school to employ teachers for Drama, Music, Dance and Art--who present a full-scale musical each spring. Theatre Wings will allow the Owls theatre program to spread its wings by providing a classroom dance floor. Many years ago, the classroom was outfitted with spongy mats glued to the concrete below. The mats are frayed and dirty, and need to be removed, but would leave the students dancing on concrete. The school’s budget can’t stretch to provide dance flooring. Yet this is critical if the dance instructor is to help students safely improve their dance skills and meet state arts standards.

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Sky Harbour Elementary

Sky Harbour Elementary

Sky Harbour Elementary (San Antonio, TX) for $27,000 to further improve their production values. Sky Harbour Elementary School sits on the Southwest side of San Antonio, Texas with a mission to provide the highest quality public education and instruction, so the students know what they can achieve, anything is possible, no matter what circumstances they may live in or face. There are many challenges facing these students as Texas has cut so much from education budgets that money for elementary theatre is just nonexistent. Sky Harbour is the only elementary school in their district that has a theatre program. The families of the students support the program through fundraisers, sewing costumes, building sets, and much more. The excitement amongst students and parents about learning about the theatre and careers in the field has grown since the program began. Students at Sky Harbour are offered only two after school extracurricular activities, one of those is theatre. The proposed production improvements in light and sound are important to the future of the program. The shows have casts of approximately 75 elementary students, but are presented to a school of 650 along with the community, parents, and other visiting schools. These performances are providing theatrical experiences to a community that wouldn't otherwise access it. The teacher believes they need to create the best productions possible to give the entire community an unforgettable experience that will make theatre belong to them for a lifetime.

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