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 applications for the 2020 Training Scholarships are now closed.
Applications for the 2021 University Scholarships are now closed.
An update on the application process for the 2021 Classroom Resources Grants cycle will be posted in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
This initiative is made possible by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
Alfred Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School (Kenner, LA) - for $24,607 to purchase lighting equipment, a sound system, set construction tools, and materials to establish a fully stocked workshop. Funds will also go towards technology assistance via Google Chromebooks so that students can build professional portfolios of their documented work each year. The resources funded will help students to produce professional looking and sounding productions, and give students the exposure to the different jobs available in the theatre profession. The goal of the program is for every senior involved to graduate with a strong theatre resume of performance and technical roles. The school district represented, Jefferson Parish, is the largest and most diverse district in Louisiana. Regardless of students’ beliefs, identity, skin color, citizenship, ability, gender, or family income, Alfred Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School believes all students deserve an education to help them succeed in life and make our world a better place.
Amundsen High School (Chicago, IL) – for $18,387 to build a fully-functioning high school theater program, including funding resources to design, build, and perform full shows such as set materials, lighting equipment, costume storage, changing area, sewing machine, sewing supplies, headsets, and a stage manager station. This program will expose economically disadvantaged students to a range of technology, arts, and a hands-on “makerspace” for theater. Amundsen High School is an urban school with a diverse student population that is on the academic upswing. It is the school of choice for families due to its excellent student achievement results and competitive academic and extracurricular programs. Their mission is to provide every Amundsen student with a 21st Century rigorous and relevant education, which prepares them for success in their post-secondary academic endeavors and careers.
Broome Street Academy Charter High School, Inc. (New York, NY) – for $16,898 to install modern lighting and audio equipment, as well as a repair of the wall partition in their performance and technical theater to enhance the quality of theatre offerings for students. This critical renovation will ensure that students have a professional space equipped with the tools needed to support them in their theatrical development and education. Broome St. Academy’s (BSA) theatre education, infused through school-day classes and extracurricular opportunities, provides a safe space for creative expression that allows students to explore artistic forms for which training is rarely available in their communities. Many of BSA’s students come from low-resourced areas with little access to the arts and have experienced significant disruption to their educational development through homelessness or placement in foster care. As a result, BSA aims to ensure that students will have opportunities for creative self-expression, as well as a space to explore career paths in theatre that they otherwise not have access to.
Dalton Middle School (Dalton, GA) – for $22,600 to hire professional artists and musicians for residencies and production costs to create and premiere a new Dalton-based musical that will be devised with students. This musical will feature a script and libretto using popular mariachi tunes in the public domain as inspiration for plot, main musical numbers, and creating a story based on experiences from the lives of Dalton students. Dalton Middle School is incredibly proud of the cultural diversity they represent. 70% of the student population is Latino/a. The Dalton community has learned and grown together to celebrate the mix of heritages that exist within their town. It is the hope of Dalton Middle School (DMS) that incorporating mariachi music into their new musical will encourage members of the Latino community to gain a greater sense of ownership and accessibility to local theatre. DMS also hopes to encourage local theatres and programs to explore more work that bridges communities in their town.
Hawthorne Elementary School (Madison, WI) – for $1,680 to fund licensing for a musical production, costumes, sound panels, microphones, and set design supplies. Students in 3rd-5th grades will be able to participate in the musical, however, the entire student body is able to participate in getting the production ready by joining a club during the school day. This includes assisting with the design and creation of sets and costumes. Hawthorne Elementary School is a low-income school, with over 70% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. The mission of the school and faculty is to value and respect the cultures and backgrounds of everyone in the diverse school community. This is evidenced by the various activities held frequently at school, low staff turnover, and the engagement of parents and students to the school as a whole.
Heights High School (Houston, TX) – for $35,069 to update lighting and sound systems to reflect current technology and industry standards, which will allow students to run shows, join college programs, and compete with other district schools, all of which have modern equipment. Heights High School is a Title I Houston Independent School District, International Baccalaureate Program Magnet School with a focus on whole student learning and data driven instruction. The school has over 2,300 students, with over 80% of the population being Hispanic. Although situated in an upper-class neighborhood, the majority of students come from underprivileged families and backgrounds. However, the diverse student body maintains a high work ethic, strong moral compass, and a genuine desire to learn. Despite the array of broken homes and low-income families within the student body, the usual teenage exploration of experiences are still present, making after-school activities an important part of student life.
Inwood Academy for Leadership (New York, NY) – for $12,264 to purchase lighting equipment. This equipment will allow teachers to instruct already interested students in lighting operation and design for productions and life beyond school for years to come. Inwood Academy is a free public charter school, serving children in northern Manhattan who primarily come from economically disadvantaged families. When the drama program was launched two years ago, it created an environment that has greatly impacted the students involved, especially those who otherwise would be considered marginalized. The mission at Inwood Academy is to empower students to become agents for change through community-focused leadership, character development, and college preparedness. The staff and faculty teach students to create a healthy and sustainable school environment for all students by acting with intention and care.
Rio Rico High School (Rio Rico, AZ) – for $6,790 to purchase a pit orchestra keyboard that will allow students to learn music and vocals for upcoming musical productions. Funding will also be used toward purchasing microphones, a communication system, and stagecraft supplies to improve and enrich the quality of theatre instruction. These funded resources are essential for creating a functioning program, especially for a growing program. Rio Rico High School serves nearly 1,200 students in the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District. Their district mission is "education everyone every day", and the school follows that motto by working towards creating an environment in which all students are well rounded. The past few years, Rio Rico has seen the performing arts grow in the community presence as their theater program expands to new horizons each year.
Roberto Clemente Learning Academy (Detroit, MI) – for $19,061 to purchase new curtain panels, wireless microphones, sound equipment, and projection equipment. The resources funded will be reused for future production, aiding in the sustainability of the school’s theatre program. As a result of funding, all 680 students in the school will participate in the upcoming musical theatre production – either on the stage or off. Roberto Clemente Learning Academy is an inner city, public school in Detroit, Michigan that serves preschoolers through fifth graders. Roberto Clemente Learning Academy has a very strong Hispanic community with many English language learners who come from homes with parents that speak only Spanish. Students are living in poverty but are overcoming language barriers, cultural adjustments, and educational deficits as they continue their education through the school. The district mission is to educate and empower every student, in every community, every day, to build a stronger Detroit.
Skyline High School (Oakland, CA) – for $26,559 to purchase seating, sound equipment, video projection equipment, video and stage manager booth materials, and a stage sound curtain. These resources will allow the school to build their students a career pathway into technical theatre through a Black Box Performance Lab. It also allows students to have a performance space for class projects and performances. The Skyline High School is a low-income/high poverty Title 1 school where 77% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. The school aims to create a community that engages students by embracing an education that values critical thinking, academic rigor, cultural responsiveness, and healthy relationships. They strive to create equitable and meaningful learning experiences from which students thrive in college, career, and community with courage, confidence, and joy.
Waterside Children's Studio School PS 317Q (Rockaway Park, Queens, NY) – for $21,800 to purchase state of the art lighting equipment. This new equipment will allow student performers from Pre-K through 5th grade to be seen as they exhibit their talents and hard work. This will enable the community surrounding the school to see the kids as they perform the yearly play and twice yearly arts festivals, as well as dance and band performances in the auditorium via an improved lighting system. PS317Q Waterside Children's Studio School is a public Title 1 elementary school in Rockaway Park, Queens, an outer borough of New York City that has seen more than its fair share of trauma, including concentrated losses in the 9/11 attacks, and 7 years ago, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area, flooding the peninsula and the school. 68% of students are free-lunch eligible, and 79% are from minority populations, including 47% Hispanic and 23% African American. Through a variety of arts, including drama, the rigorous and progressive curriculum empowers all children to grow academically, creatively and socially.
Charter School of New Castle (New Castle, DE) for $20,000 to purchase and install baffles and acoustic tiles to absorb reverberating sounds in the gymnasium. The remaining funds will be used to purchase and install an up-to-date sound system that includes loudspeakers, amplifier, wireless microphone system, and media player. Lastly, the funds will be used to purchase conventional theatrical lighting, including a spotlight and dimmer. Charter School of New Castle (CSNC) is a Title I public charter school that proudly serves nearly 800 students in grades K-8. The school is located in an urban neighborhood in the community of New Castle, DE. The school is comprised of over 80% African American students with nearly 55% identified as low-income and at least 50% receiving free or reduced lunch. The equipment from the funding will be used to teach students basic lighting and sound design, as the school continues to expand productions to include specific crews in the future.
Chavez High School (Houston, TX) for $30,000 to renovate and provide access to a well-stocked and ready-to-teach-in workshop. Resources will be used to offer students the opportunity to graduate high school with knowledge of basic and complex power tools, but also to be able to use their creativity in a way that is pragmatic in their community. In addition, a cross-district support system will be created for other campuses' theatre programs that do not have access to a workshop at all. César E. Chavez High School is a majority Hispanic high school located in Southeast Houston, Texas. Participating in theatre provides a home for students who are in need of a safe place to access their creativity. Students organize and run not only a full season of shows, but events for the school and district. The staff and faculty guide students whose parents haven't received a formal education through the college application process, giving them access to the brighter future.
The Donald McKay K-8 School (East Boston, MA) for $10,000 to fund new sound and lighting equipment that will involve more students in their musical theatre program. New students will be encouraged to get involved in the production aspect of a musical. Technical theatre allows students to experience the collaborative nature in the arts and enjoy success as an integral part of a production team. The Donald McKay School is a K-8 school serving students and families in East Boston. English is not the first language of 84.8% of the McKay's students. 59.4% of students are classified as English Language Learners and 13% percent of the student population is classified as Students with Disabilities. The vision for the McKay School is to empower students by working with them to develop strong skills, academic knowledge, habits of inquiry, and critical curiosity about society, power, inequality, and change. Donald McKay strongly believes that the performing arts have the power to help students achieve these goals.
East Lee County High School (Lehigh Acres, FL) for $9,669 to establish a permanent Theatre Program that will serve the students and the community. In producing a musical, East Lee County High School will begin to purchase the tools to create a legitimate scene shop to build the set needed for their show and the many to follow. Costumes will also be purchased for use in future productions. With the funding, a website for the department will be created, along with the purchase of domain rights. East Lee County High School is located in a region that has one of the highest concentrations of persons living below the 200% poverty threshold. The school itself has an 86% poverty rate. The life of each student and the culture of the school can be significantly changed with the arts leading the way. By creating a sustainable theatre program with funding, residents of this area will be able to see in their students all the gifts that this particular art form can give and what it can do for the school overall.
Gregory-Lincoln Education Center School of Performing and Visual Arts (Houston, TX) for $7,107 will be used for purchasing essential equipment in order to put on high-value productions such as a spotlight, sewing machine, fabric, costumes, accessories, stage props, a screen and drop projector, as well as equipping a “Reader’s Theater”, which is a school-wide reading/writing program that will enhance their Theatre Arts Program. Gregory-Lincoln Education Center School of Performing and Visual Arts is a Magnet School located in Houston, Texas. Students from Pre-K through Eighth grade participate in the fine arts which includes piano, choir, dance, band, culinary arts, theatre arts, and core academic classes. The students of Gregory-Lincoln participate in fine arts classes and programs during the day as well as after-school. The mission of the fine arts program is to give students every opportunity to be on the stage performing, in the audience enjoying a performance, or learning what is required to work behind the stage in production.
Hagerman Elementary School (Hagerman, NM) for $20,000 will purchase a new sound system, which includes a signal processor, amp, CD and DVD player, as well as microphones, lighting, and projectors for their auditorium. The equipment acquired through funding will greatly benefit the music program, the drama club, and all students attending the school in one way or another. The small Hagerman community has about 215 students in the elementary school servicing Pre-K through Fifth grade. Hagerman Elementary School provides free breakfast and lunch for 100% of their students as they are classified as a low-income school. The Mission of the Hagerman Municipal Schools, in partnership with the community, is to educate all students for success and to create a learning community which will foster positive attitudes and skills leading toward healthy, responsible citizenship and academic excellence through a sound, relevant curriculum taught by a caring, qualified staff in a technology-rich environment.
Mariposa Elementary School (Mariposa, CA) for $6,791 will purchase wireless body pack microphones, handheld microphones, a pair of monitors, a digital mixer, and speakers. These will all be used for the musicals in order for students to be heard during their solos and spoken lines, and will be used for future productions as well. In addition, lights, stage light accessories, stage light cables, and two sets of risers will all be used in order for students to be visible to the audience. Mariposa Elementary School has 450 students, who primarily come from families who are low income. The culture of Mariposa Elementary School is centered around kindness. The students of the Mariposa school have endured, due to the high tree mortality, community fires and evacuations with some loss of homes, as well as flooding the last two years which included deaths in the community. In a community such as Mariposa, although these tragedies are horrific at the time, this community is able to come together. Performance opportunities at the school would provide a positive opportunity to build on this theme.
McCluer High School (Florissant, MO) for $10,000 will allow students to get working stage lights and sound for their theatre, which currently produces five shows a year. The current seating in the theatre is made up of stackable chairs that are all over 20 years old. The padding and stuffing are non-functional and many of them are torn or have paint on them. This grant would allow new chairs to encourage parents and patrons to attend shows. McCluer High School services the students of Ferguson, Missouri who are still recovering from the trauma of the Michael Brown riots and shooting. The McCluer High School mantra is "McCluer High School is a community of learners where everyone is valued and treated with respect. Our dedication to excellence is the bond that we share. If one of us is weak, we are all weak; if one of us is strong, we are all stronger. We are champions who strive to lead healthy, happy, helpful lives. We are respectful; we are responsible, we are ready, we are peaceful, and we are positive; we are destined for greatness. We are McCluer."
Northside High School (Houston, TX) for $12,500 will fund play purchases to grow their Theatre Classroom Play Library. Additionally, funding will be used sponsor a playwright instructor from Writers in the Schools (WITS) for the Northside’s advanced theatre class to create a student written production and develop a playwriting curriculum which can be replicated locally. Lastly, funding will be used to obtain high quality costumes and character shoes for the school’s production of Imaginary Invalid by Moliere. The theatre department at Northside High School is in a vibrant Fine Arts department which has Visual Art, Choir, Dance, Band, Orchestra, and Mariachi. Northside is also a culinary and technology magnet high school. The Near Northside is known throughout Houston for its strength, dignity, community pride, and rich culture. Like the neighborhood, students, faculty, and staff are fiercely loyal to Panther Nation and proudly bleed purple!
Steel Academy (Akron, OH) for $7,000 to cover costs of costuming, building sets and props, and buying lighting and sound equipment. During the spring semester, students will be learning about set building, prop building, finding, and altering costumes. The students involved will be working towards a three-night production of Little Shop of Horrors. The Steel Academy is a free public, nonprofit, community school for students in grades 7 through 12 who learn differently. Many of their students have learning disabilities caused by ADHD, Asperger’s, or other disorders on the Autism spectrum. Students are inspired through unique teaching methods that encourage lifelong learning and open doors to the future. The Steel Academy was founded with a strong emphasis in the fine arts. The arts have been proven to be therapeutic for students, and persons, with all types of disabilities. At Steel Academy, extreme importance in placed on treating students with disabilities as a person who can achieve what they set out to do.
Tyler Elementary School (Washington, DC) for $7,235 to purchase and install new stage curtains. These curtains will help transform the current multi-use gymnasium into a functional theatre space. The curtains will be used for all school-wide performances. Tyler Elementary School is a high-poverty school in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, DC. Their mission is to engage, educate and empower all learners. One of the ways Tyler Elementary School strives to provide holistic educational experiences to students is by engaging them in the arts. The dedicated staff volunteers many hours of their time by sponsoring a wide variety of extracurricular activities such as drama, dance, step team, yearbook staff, Student Government Association and cheerleading that give students opportunities to build positive relationships with each other and staff members.
Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts (New York, NY) for $25,000 to purchase portable lighting equipment to be used for all theatrical productions. Funding will also go towards lights, cables, tree stands, a light board, and a method for storing the equipment when not in use. Lighting will enhance every production and class, which means larger audiences, greater exposure, increased school growth, higher student engagement, and more revenue from ticket sales to develop a sustainable, rigorous program and provide more resources to theatre students. Additionally, funding will ensure the education of every theatre student in the use, maintenance, and storage of lighting equipment. Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts is a vibrant, diverse, artistic community that reflects the culture and life of Harlem. All students get the opportunity to participate in a four-year conservatory program in either dance, vocal music, or theatre. UASPA is a non-auditioned school, which means that any student with an interest in the arts may enroll, regardless of natural talent or previous coaching/coursework.
Washington Middle School (La Habra, CA) for $34,755 to install a new sound system and additional lighting in their theatre. The stage is currently lit by fluorescent tube lights, and has no working sound system. With this funding, 5 LED front wash lights, 3 rows of 5 down lights, and two cyclorama spectra lights will be installed. Additionally, installing mid, right and left speakers for the stage will also be executed. The School District's high school has a well-developed and thriving theatre arts program, so by getting the kids involved and skilled in theatre arts in middle school, it will allow a successful transition of theatrical enthusiasm whose benefits are long reaching. Most students in La Habra do not have any awareness of live theatre or the impact that it can have on social change, emotional awareness, and expression. The Washington Middle School community strongly believes in providing an experience in which students can find their voices and express their feelings. They will learn from us how to create art that is meaningful to them in the form of theatre.
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.
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.
Support the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative
Through the generosity of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the American Theatre Wing has invested a three-year grant of $1.3 Million to pilot and establish the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, which helps under-served, diverse students overcome barriers to pursuing a career in theatre. The Initiative provides public school drama teachers with the resources they need to nurture young talent in their schools, and gives training and university scholarships to underserved students, especially those from groups that are underrepresented in the theatre industry.
Please help us ensure that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legacy at the Wing will endure forever. Any amount is appreciated and gets us one step closer to meeting the Legacy Fund Match!