The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President and CEO) announced today the recipients of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative’s programming, including the 4-Year University Scholarships, the Training Scholarships, and the Classroom Resources Grants. These scholarships and grants represent the Wing’s most rigorous investment in direct support for underserved public school students demonstrating exceptional talent and economic need to continue their study of theatre.
“Arts education, and making theater available to all young persons, is vital to the growth of our culture and society. The grant proposals received this year have shown the urgent need for arts funding in primary and secondary schools across America, and for young persons looking to further their arts education. I am proud that we are in the third year of this program, and am excited for the years to come,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber.
“Since we launched the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative almost three years ago, we have significantly expanded it to provide more support to even more schools and students all across the country. To date, the Initiative has awarded over $1.3 million in grants and scholarships, reaching over thirty-five thousand students nationwide,” said Heather Hitchens, President & CEO of the American Theatre Wing.
High school students in Grade 12 who demonstrate talent and ability in the theatre arts but lack the resources to attend a four-year university program are eligible to apply for the 4-Year University Scholarships. These scholarships can be used at an accredited private or public university or college in the United States. Each of the scholars are provided with scholarships of up to $10,000 towards their course fees, and are renewable for four years so long as a minimum GPA of 3.0 is maintained.
The 2018 recipients include: actor Nena Daniels of Richmond, VA, attending Rutgers University; actor Daelin Elzie of Manvel, TX, attending New York University; dancer/choreographer Anijah Lezama of New York, NY, attending the University of Southern California; stage manager Corina Matos Aguilera of Morrisville, NC, attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts; musical composer Alyssa Payne of Mableton, GA, attending the Boston Conservatory; actor Hannah-Kathryn Wall of Charlotte, NC, attending Western Carolina University; and stage manager Avery Woodruff of Dayton, OH, attending the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.
Public middle and high school students who demonstrate talent and ability in the theatre arts but have a lack of resources to receive high level training prior to college are eligible to apply for the Training Scholarships. These scholarships can be used for Private or Group Voice, Dance, or Music lessons; theatre training programs that stand alone or are housed in professional theatre settings; theatre training camps; or special training opportunities.
The 2018 recipients include: Austin Anderson of Decatur, GA, who attended the Youth Creates program; Nicholas Askew of Murfreesboro, TN, who attended the MPulse Musical Theatre Workshop; Eugene Bois of Marietta, GA, who attended the Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensive; Armani Brown of Houston, TX, who attended TUTS Humphrey’s School of Musical Theatre; Jaqueline Cabrero of West Harrison, NY, who attended the Carnegie Mellon University Pre-College Program; Jazmyne Charles of Houston, TX, who attended the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Summer Musical Theater Program; Ingrid Nicole Corleto of Winnetka, CA, who attended the Teenage Drama Workshop “TADW” at California State University, Northridge; Jamia Croft of Louisville, KY, who attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ Contemporary Dance Intensive; Joilynn Green of Austin, TX, who attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ Drama Intensive; Rich Adrian Lazatin of Aurora, IL, who attended the National High School Institute “Cherubs” Musical Theatre Extension at Northwestern University; Sydney Lopes of Smyrna, GA, who attended the Berklee Five Week Summer Intensive; Kelly Lukito of Flushing, NY, who attended Young Actors at Strasberg; Freedom Martin of Chicago, IL, who attended the British American Drama Academy; Amara McNeil of Bristol, CT, who attended NYU’s Summer High School Production and Design Workshop; Katelyn Ortiz of Pembroke Pines, FL, who attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ Summer Drama Intensive; Elise Porter of Las Vegas, NV, who attended the Las Vegas Dance Academy; Imani Preyor of Los Angeles, CA, who attended the University of Southern California Summer Theatre Conservatory; Anthony Quintana of Miami, FL, who attended French Woods; Julia Schick of Kennesaw, GA, who attended The Performing Arts Project: Panorama; Isabella Torres of Dearborn Heights, MI, who attended The Performing Arts Project: Panorama; Imani Turner of Baltimore, MD, who attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy’s High School Summer Conservatory Musical Theatre Program; Indigo Turner of Baltimore, MD, who attended the Interlochen Theatre Ensemble; and Carrington Vaughn of Detroit, MI, who attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.
Through these University and Training Scholarships, the Wing hopes to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity, and create a strong pipeline to the professional theatre for promising artists of all backgrounds. The student’s area of focus can be from any aspect of theatre from performance, to design, to writing, to stage management, and others.
Any individual public K-12 school in the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or non-profit parent group associated with that K-12 school are eligible to apply for the Classroom Resources Grants, providing funding directly to under-resourced public schools to provide instruments, dance floors, lighting grids, and other necessary materials to help create and enhance existing theatre programs. Grant requests of up to $100,000 are considered, but the priority of funding is for resource requests in the $10,000 to $40,000 range, allowing the Wing to extend meaningful resources to multiple deserving schools each year.
The 2018 recipients are: Charter School of New Castle (New Castle, DE), Chavez High School (Houston, TX), Donald McKay K-8 (East Boston, MA), East Lee County High School (Lehigh Acres, FL), Gregory-Lincoln Education Center Performing and Visual Arts (Houston, TX), Hagerman Elementary School(Hagerman, NM), Mariposa Elementary School (Mariposa, CA), McCluer High School (Florissant, MI), Northside High School (Houston, TX), Steel Academy (Akron, OH), Tyler Elementary School (Washington, D.C.), Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts (New York, NY), and Washington Middle School(La Habra, CA).
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.
For more information on the American Theatre Wing’s Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, visit http://americantheatrewing.org/program/the-andrew-lloyd-webber-initiative/.
The American Theatre Wing’s 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.
In 2016, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation initially funded the initiative with an influential $1.3 million three-year grant. The project is an extension of the work Lloyd Webber, a multi-Tony Award winning composer-producer, is doing to promote and fund arts education through the foundation in the U.K.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation was set up by Andrew in 1992 to promote the arts, culture and heritage for the public benefit; since inception Andrew has been the principal provider of funding for all its charitable activities.
In 2010, the Foundation embarked on an active grant giving program and has now awarded grants of over $24 million to support high quality training and personal development as well as other projects that make a real difference to enrich the quality of life both for individuals and within local communities. Significant grants include $4.5 million to Arts Educational Schools, London to create a state-of-the-art professional theatre, $3 million to The Music in Secondary Schools Trust, $1.3 million to The Architectural Heritage Fund, $1.7m to the American Theatre Wing and over $380,000 annually to fund 30 performing arts scholarships for talented students in financial need. www.andrewlloydwebberfoundation.com
One hundred years ago, on the eve of America’s entry into World War I, seven suffragettes—all women of the theatre—came together to form The Stage Women’s War Relief. A century later, the spirit and vision behind the founding of American Theatre Wing remains a touchstone for all we do. The Wing continues to champion bravery, with a focus on developing the next generation of brave artists. We envision an American Theatre that is as vital, multi-faceted, and diverse as the American people.
The Wing’s programs span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. We provide theatre education opportunities for underserved students through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, develop the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC, Theatre Intern Network, and SwingSeats programs, incubate innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, support emerging musical theatre songwriters through the Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge (co-presented with the NEA) and the Jonathan Larson® Grants, and illuminate the creative process through the Emmy-nominated “Working in the Theatre” documentary series. In addition to founding the Tony Awards®, which are co-presented with The Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing co-presents the Obie Awards®, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor, with The Village Voice.
Visitors to AmericanTheatreWing.org can gain inspiration and insight into the artistic process through the Wing’s extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences. Follow the Wing on Twitter and Instagram @TheWing, and on Facebook.com/TheAmericanTheatreWing.