Arlington Middle School (Lawrence, MA) for $16,900 to purchase lighting equipment to convert a former media center into a black box theater classroom in which their "Language of Play" arts integration program may engage more students with complex text though not only the acting of but the producing of theater. Arlington Middle School is in the urban district of Lawrence, Massachusetts which has been in receivership by the state of Massachusetts for the past five years. Enrollment is 600 students, 39% of whom are English Language Learners (ELLs). They have conducted the "Language of Play" program for the past 3 years with the goal of teaching literacy through theater. Each year, plays are student written and acted but they have not had a space to perform the fruits of the young students' labor. As a result, opportunities for students to engage with text through technical production are non-existent. With the new lighting system, students will be able to design a theatrical experience that will transport the audience to South Sudan, or the farms of Southern California, or the mills of Lawrence, MA in 1912. Their goal is to give students the opportunity to experience a hands on teaching laboratory, so they can they can create the magic themselves.A
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:
- 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.
- Training Scholarships: Funding goes towards covering the costs associated with sending select students to afterschool and summer training programs.
- 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.
This initiative is made possible by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
Bryan Community Focus Program (Lincoln, NE) for $8,000 for a portable stage to be used in the gymnasium for theater (and other) performances. Bryan Community Focus Program is an alternative high school opportunity for students who struggle in large public schools. Their staff works hard to develop individualized programs to help students graduate. With this funding, they will be able to amplify the benefits of the experience for the students who are already in the theater program, and possibly serve new students who are hesitant to leave their home high schools because of their interest in performing. A stage will legitimize the performances in the eyes of students, families, and their community. It will also show students that help is available for them if they work hard and prove themselves.
Charlestown High School (Boston, MA) for $16,000 for the installation of new lighting instruments in the school auditorium. Charlestown High School serves 932 students from all over the City of Boston. They have an open-enrollment policy, meaning that they welcome students without requiring them to pass through any admissions barriers. They also have one of the highest needs student populations in Boston. It is their mission, therefore, to educate students to be “bold leaders and critical thinkers.” Providing students with high-quality, culturally relevant performing arts opportunities is a key part of their work to celebrate and develop students’ interests, passions, and expertise on a daily basis. This funding will allow them to dramatically enhance students' experience by improving classroom instruction with the use of equipment that is aligned with their rigorous 21st century instructional standards, providing new opportunities for students interested in technical work, and allowing them to stage powerful performances that adapt classical texts to the students' own lives and experiences as teenagers in a major urban city.
Cordova High School (Rancho Cordova, CA) for $12,000 to produce the first musical at Cordova High School in twenty years. Cordova High School is located in Rancho Cordova, California. The students cannot afford any of the local "pay to perform" theater programs, so their only opportunity to gain the experience of performing is with the school. Last year they were able to mount two full productions and are averaging an audience of 100+ per night, with 90% of the students making their acting debut. Their drama teacher continues to give them the best experiences possible, but nothing ever matches the excitement of a musical. With this funding, they will take the next step and produce a musical, using the grant money to purchase show royalties, microphones, and materials for sets and costumes. This will allow the students to have more elaborate sets and costumes, and they will learn what is involved in building and running a show with more elaborate tech.
Cypress Creek High School (Orlando, FL) for $17,000 to purchase new scenery construction tools, sewing machines and sergers, mannequins and lighting equipment. Cypress Creek High School is located in Southeast Orlando with a student population that has a passionate interest in the performing arts. Their program currently has over 300 entry level students and over 400 students in advanced theatrical arts courses. They strive to give students a chance to be involved in quality, professional level theatrical experiences and provide a working understanding of all aspects of theater both performance and technical based. They will be updating their technical theater equipment and resources to offer a more comprehensive, professional experience for students who seek to make their craft into a lifelong pursuit and give them an advantage when continuing into higher learning.
Eagle Rock Elementary School (Los Angeles, CA) for $32,109 to purchase auditorium lighting and a rear screen projector and screen. Eagle Rock Elementary and Magnet Center resides within the second largest school district in the United States: the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The school proudly serves approximately 800 students, including English language learners and students with special needs. The current lighting system in their auditorium is extremely antiquated, ineffective, and dangerous with constant concern of malfunction. Through this grant and the purchase of new lighting materials, Eagle Rock will create a more functional, educational, and beautiful space to serve their school community for years to come. They will also use the equipment to teach students basic scenic and lighting design and how to operate the technical equipment themselves, providing additional learning opportunities in theatrical production.
North Graham Elementary School (Graham, NC) for $20,000 to purchase dance flooring, curtains, sound technology, and lighting equipment for their theater program. At North Graham Elementary it is their vision to develop literate, independent students who are artistic, collaborative, problem solvers who are eager to strive for personal growth and achievement. Their mission is to provide a learning centered, arts enriched environment that is responsive to the needs of the student population, and they are the only elementary school in their district with Theatre Arts, Dance and Orchestra programs. Through the purchase of these materials, they will address three issues that are critical to their development as an arts school: student safety, curriculum needs, and community engagement. These resources will help their Theatre Arts program grow, providing additional quality educational experiences for their students and community.
Oakland Technical High School (Oakland, CA) for $25,428 to purchase lighting equipment to support a large-scale musical production. Oakland Technical High School is a public high school serving over 2,000 students a year. The school was founded in 1914, and has been producing excellence and overcoming great economic challenges for over 100 years. Known for its emphasis on education and deep learning as much as it is its vibrant history of sports and the arts, Oakland Technical High School offers one of the most diverse experiences and school cultures that a student could ask for. With this grant, they are going to bring their lighting equipment into the current era of bright lights, low energy, and automation to take their productions to the next level.
Mickey Mantle School PS 811 @ 149 (New York, NY) for $9,235 to purchase technology to create an innovative theater and art program. The Mickey Mantle School serves students with autism, emotional challenges and in need of academic support. It provides a supportive, creative environment that takes into account each child's individual needs. Their programs are designed to encourage students’ self-esteem, independence, and creativity while providing a rigorous and in depth academic curriculum. They will use this technology to create rear view projections and use student’s art as a backdrop to their performances. This project will allow students to express their point of view, contribute to the production process, and be introduced to a variety of careers in theater onstage or behind the scenes.
Ron Brown Academy Middle School 57 (Brooklyn, NY) for $23,000 to purchase a cyclorama, and to support the production of their mainstage musical and parent engagement night. The Ron Brown Academy Middle School 57 is a Title 1 middle school in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn that has been transformed by the arts thanks to their former principal and cultural organizations like the Matisse Foundation and Arts Matter. They have taken pride in doing quality theater on a shoe-string budget. They will use the funds from this grant for costumes for 30 students, materials to build small set pieces and props, and a cyclorama so that they can project illustrated scenery. The grant will also fund a parent engagement night where parents see a professional production with their children, to excite them about the work their children are doing and to stress the importance of their attendance. The resources bought with this grant will address the fact that they are an Arts Middle School with very few materials for the arts.
Snipes Academy of Arts and Design (Wilmington, NC) for $16,000 to purchase equipment for their theater program. Snipes Academy of Arts and Design is a magnet school in Wilmington, NC. They are the only elementary school in their district with a theater art, dance and band program. Their mission statement is "To be the best and brightest in all that we do" and they strive to excel, but they do not have the microphones, stage props, and backgrounds needed to create a full theatrical experience. Support from the Initiative will allow for expansion of the theater program to produce work in a fully equipped space with working microphones, light, sound and expanded set design. The students will be able to perform quality shows with costumes while building their skills in theatrical design and performance, allowing them to Dream Big, Sparkle More, and Shine Bright.
South Plantation High School (Plantation, FL) for $5,320 to purchase foldable mirrors for use by the theater, dance, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs. South Plantation High School is the only high school in Broward County, Florida, that offers a specialized Deaf and Hard of Hearing program and the only public high school integrating that program into our the theater program, specializing in Theatre for The Deaf, in order to continually and regularly be accessible to all students and the greater community. The Theatre Program at South Plantation High School’s mission is to empower youth through the arts, while embracing a culture that takes risk without fear of failure, and provides excellence in theatrical programming that is accessible to all audience members engaging, challenging, and inspiring the community in which they live. Every mainstage production is interpreted in American Sign Language by actors on stage, side by side with voice, to engage all performers and audiences equally. The purchase of glassless mirrors, which fold and roll for storage, will greatly improve the instruction and practice of theater, dance, mime and American Sign Language, since facial expressions and body language are an essential element.
Western Middle School for the Arts (Louisville, KY) for $18,220 to develop a fully equipped, fully functioning Sound Design Lab that would expand their theater and music education programs during the school day as well as create new opportunities for the students, school and community to experience student – generated work. Western Middle School for the Arts (WMSFA) is located in Louisville, Kentucky. Beginning in 2010-11 with the incoming sixth-grade class, WMS became the districtwide magnet school for visual and performing arts. All students attending WMS choose an area of focus from the following: Dance, Drama, Visual Arts, Band, String Orchestra, and Vocal Music. Visual and performing arts classes include opportunities for interdisciplinary learning to provide students with experience in all areas of the arts. With this funding, the Sound Design Lab will provide new learning and hands-on experiences for their students, and give them a chance to broaden and personalize their learning.
Southaven High School (Southaven, MS) for $21,328 for a new lighting system for their auditorium. The mission statement of Southaven High School is "Providing a Pathway for Success." This is an integral mission for both their core subjects and their electives. As a school, they try to foster an environment in which to create well-rounded students. Their school is the second largest in the state and Mississippi has recently cut funding for education making it difficult for them to get those things that help ensure success is possible in every aspect of education. The new LED system purchased through this grant will be safer for students to use. They will learn to set and focus lighting without running the risk of being shocked or burned by rusted housing or poor electrical connections. Students will learn how to effectively use color in lighting design first hand instead of in theory.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The American Theatre Wing welcomes your questions, opinions and concerns.