The American Theatre Wing has announced the recipients of the 2021 Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative Classroom Resources Grants. Grant requests of up to $50,000 were considered for K-12 public schools, with nearly 135 applications received from across 35 states and just over $6 million dollars in requested funding. This year’s recipients are: Bronx Charter School for the Arts (Bronx, NY), Calumet New Tech High School (Gary, Indiana), Central Middle School (Weslaco, Texas), Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard (Dallas, Texas), Mary R Stauffer Middle School (Downey, California), Memorial High School (West New York, New Jersey), Miami Coral Park Senior High (Miami, Florida), Morehead Elementary (Greensboro, North Carolina), Newnan High School (Newnan, Georgia), P.S. 345 Patrolman Robert Bolden (Brooklyn, New York), PS214K (Brooklyn, New York), and Taos High School (Taos, New Mexico).
The Classroom Resources Grants are an annual investment in Public Schools to help drama teachers get more of the resources they need to strengthen drama instruction in their schools. Funding is provided directly to under-resourced public schools to provide musical instruments, lighting equipment, sound equipment, costumes, and other theatrical resources to enhance the education and training of its students. Since the launch of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, the American Theatre Wing has distributed more than $2.3 million dollars in grants, scholarships, and support to students and schools nationwide to ensure more young people from underrepresented communities get access to theatre.
“I don’t know anyone in our community who lacks an intrinsic understanding of the giant impact that access to the arts can have on a student’s life. By ensuring this access, we don’t just help instill a lifelong appreciation for theatre; we also support empathy-building, problem-solving, creative-thinking, and a whole range of crucial life skills. We are so proud to support these 12 Title 1 schools and their educators, who go above and beyond to provide quality arts education to their communities”, said Heather Hitchens, President and CEO of the American Theatre Wing.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative (ALWI) was created in 2016 with seed funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to aid and abet systemic change in the American Theatre by infusing new resources into the theatre ecosystem in order to bolster the pipeline for underrepresented talent on stage and off. The three components of the initiative are annual Classroom Resources Grants, Training Scholarships for middle and high school students covering the costs to attend summer study and after school training programs, and University Scholarships providing financial support of $40,000 over 4 years for students to pursue theater studies at the University level.
Those wishing to join the Wing in their efforts to provide these critical opportunities for young people can contact the American Theatre Wing’s Director of Development, Laura Michele Talbot ([email protected]).
CLASSROOM RESOURCES GRANT PROJECT BIOS
Bronx Charter School for the Arts
Bronx Charter School for the Arts (Bronx, New York) – for $20,000 to purchase lighting and sound equipment, a piano, and portable staging. This new equipment will allow the expansion of the “Lights Up” studio space for theatre majors to produce a daily informational news show for the Bronx Arts Middle School community, as well other indoor and outdoor theatre events. Bronx Arts is a K-8 public school with an elementary school in Hunts Point and a middle school in Soundview. The community is rich in talent, creativity, and entrepreneurship, despite economic and health challenges. Through the school’s focus on the arts, it instills a sense of pride within students, families, and local artists while also providing the community with resources and opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available.
Calumet New Tech High School
Calumet New Tech High School (Gary, Indiana) – for $20,000 to purchase a portable stage, rigging, lighting equipment, curtains, and sound equipment. Purchasing these materials will allow students to have a venue where they can perform dramas, poetry, musicals, and variety shows. Students will gain practical technical skills while assembling and operating the equipment. Calumet New Tech High School serves students in grades 9-12. Calumet is the only public high school in the Lake Ridge New Tech School Corporation, which also consists of one middle school and one elementary school. Calumet has a diverse population of black, brown, and white students across a broad spectrum of cultures and identities.
Central Middle School
Central Middle School (Weslaco, Texas) – for $6,160 to purchase lighting equipment for the school’s theatre program, portable lighting equipment for outdoor theatre performances, light switch boards, and light programming. This equipment will be used for hands-on teaching in middle school theatre classes, as well as drama club performances with students. The mission of Central Middle School is to educate all students in academics, enhance their personal and social growth, and help them achieve their goals as well as produce responsible, caring, and self-reliant role models in the community. Central Middle School’s Drama program, Puma Theatre, is well-known for creating motivational videos, providing daily school announcements, and hosting school events and performances.
Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard
Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard (Dallas, Texas) – for $10,000 to purchase sound equipment, lighting equipment, and costumes. Materials purchased will help build the school’s theatre program while also preparing students to apply for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, one of the top-rated public arts high schools in the country. The school’s mission is to nurture its students, enable them to achieve at a rigorous level academically, and to gain an understanding and appreciation for the arts. Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts is invested in children and in the idea that training in the Fine Arts encourages children to imagine a better life for themselves and the world.
Mary R Stauffer Middle School
Mary R Stauffer Middle School (Downey, California) – for $8,353 to purchase sound equipment. With this equipment, students will perform a concert-style version of “The Wizard of Oz”. The drama club will visit and perform for the neighboring elementary schools in the community. Mary R Stauffer Middle School’s primary focus is to ensure each student is prepared for success in high school and beyond. In addition to rigorous academic courses, students are exposed to award-winning band, drama, film/television, culinary arts, robotics, GATE, and AVID programs.
Memorial High School
Memorial High School (West New York, New Jersey) – for $20,000 to fund rigging inspection and maintenance, electrical work, sound equipment, and lighting equipment in order to provide quality performances, and for all students to be seen when they are on stage. The school’s mission is to maximize all students’ potential for success in an ever-changing world. MHS offers a wide variety of programs such as academies that include Visual/Performing Arts, Public Affairs, Business, Tomorrow’s Teachers and STEAM. With a diverse student population, MHS is one of the most vibrant and flourishing schools around and is recognized as a high performing district by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Miami Coral Park Senior High
Miami Coral Park Senior High (Miami, Florida) – for $12,718 to purchase lighting equipment, makeup, production rights, and scripts to perform Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, a play based on Ovid’s classical poem and greek mythology. Lighting equipment will include a new lightboard for the school’s auditorium, software, hardware, LED lights, portable stands, and a pipe and drape system. This will allow students to work on and enhance their lighting designs. It will also grant the school portable options for shows in various locations including outdoor shows and traveling children’s theatre. The school’s production will include ESOL practices to help engage its large Hispanic population. Miami Coral Park Senior High is a Title 1 High School with nearly 2,400 students, 95% of which are Hispanic.
Morehead Elementary (Greensboro, North Carolina) – for $3,446 to purchase and build a flexible, portable, outdoor stage. The performance space will ensure that students can safely move and perform, while following COVID-19 safety protocols. Post-pandemic, this flexible space will continue to be used for at-school performances, providing alternative performance space options, exposing students to new experiences in creating, performing, and participating as audience members. Morehead Elementary is an Elementary Expressive Arts Magnet school serving kindergarten through fifth grades in the Guilford County school system. Morehead has a diverse population serving students from 21 countries and speaking 17 different languages, with over a hundred English Learners. Morehead Elementary is a Title 1 school, in which all students receive free breakfast and lunch.
Newnan High School
Newnan High School (Newnan, Georgia) – for $20,000 to purchase a modular staging system, portable lighting, and wireless microphone packages. Equipment purchased will be used to return live theatre performances to campus after 2 years of lost performances due to Covid shutdowns and the tornado of March 2021. Every item purchased will be used in a variety of improvised venues while the campus is rebuilt. Once a new auditorium is constructed, every item will still be utilized to allow the school to tour theatre productions in their community and supplement new auditorium inventory. Newnan High School is a public four-year college preparatory and career technology high school. The student body of approximately 2,300 students is diverse in race, culture, and socio-economic backgrounds.
P.S. 345 Patrolman Robert Bolden
P.S. 345 Patrolman Robert Bolden (Brooklyn, New York) – for $6,685 to create and establish a school theatre program. This program will combine drama and music to ultimately showcase a culminating production, highlighting the very talented students within the school’s community. The program will serve students in grades 3-5 and also the community at large by instilling a love of theater that extends far beyond the school’s doors. P.S. 345 is a Title 1 school that serves an ethnically and culturally diverse community. Students in the community face many challenges and have not been given the opportunity to participate in any type of theatre program due to citywide budget cuts that have greatly affected arts programming.
PS214K (Brooklyn, New York) – for $15,000 to purchase lighting equipment, sound equipment, and iPads to enhance class scene work and record school performances. The community is culturally diverse, with families who have recently emigrated from Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Guyana and many other countries. PS214K’s mission is to educate every child to their fullest potential. They provide a comprehensive, standards-driven instructional program designed to address the varied learning styles and ability levels of all students. They strive to build a strong collaborative relationship with parents and guardians as they play an integral part in students achieving standards of excellence.
Taos High School
Taos High School (Taos, New Mexico) – for $12,848 to purchase costume storage, lighting, and sound equipment. Students will utilize these materials to perform a full length play and showcase in the Fall, and a Spring musical as well. This new equipment coupled with community support will allow the THS Drama program to thrive. Taos High School is committed to the mission and vision of preparing all students for success in any field they choose to pursue in life. Taos High School is committed to supporting academic success as well as social and emotional well-being preparing them for college and career after graduation. Taos High School is a culturally diverse, mid-sized high school, serving 100% free and reduced lunch to its economically disadvantaged population.