PlaybillSeven public schools from New York to Texas have been named recipients of the first Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative Classroom Resource Grants of up to $100,000 each to expand classroom teaching of theatre in “under-resourced public schools” across the U.S.This year’s recipients are: Broome Street Academy (New York City), Calumet New Tech High School (Gary, Indiana), Covington High School (Covington, Louisiana), Fern Creek High School (Louisville, Kentucky), Fort Walton Beach High School (Fort Walton Beach, Florida), Gocio Elementary School (Sarasota, Florida), and Sky Harbour Elementary (San Antonio, Texas). More than 175 schools applied for the grants.“I believe passionately that the arts should be available to all young people,” Lloyd Webber said. “The grant proposals received revealed an incredible level of need in every corner of America. This is merely a start—and a thrilling one—but I’ve never been more aware of the challenge ahead,”Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing, which administers the grants, said in a statement, “There is no more vital way to ensure the long term health of our art form than to provide educational resources for young students with a passion for the theater. The need is nothing short of overwhelming, and our goals are ambitious. We are filled with pride over this year’s grants. Our focus is now on the expansion of this program that Andrew started, to cover even more schools across every corner of this country.”In an earlier statement, Hitchens said, “Over the next three years, we will continue to expand the access to theatrical resources through our grants for primary, secondary, and higher education.”With the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation’s help, the Wing is investing in public schools to help drama teachers get more of the resources they need to provide quality drama instruction in their schools. Any individual public K-12 school in the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or non-profit parent group associated with that K-12 was invited to apply. (Private/parochial schools, home schools, and pre-schools were not eligible.)Grant requests of up to $100,000 were considered, but the priority of funding was for resource requests in the $10,000-$40,000 range. The awards are drawn from $1.3 million in seed funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and will “support theatre education opportunities for underserved young people and under-resourced public schools around the United States,” according to a press release.The Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative consists of three separate components: classroom resources, extracurricular training scholarships, and four-year partial university scholarships.
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