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 New York, NY (December 21, 2017) – The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President and CEO) announced today the recipients of the 2017 Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative Classroom Resource Grants. Grant requests of up to $100,000 were considered for K-12 public schools, with nearly 200 applications received from across 40 states. Requests totaled nearly $4.2 million. Thanks to the Edwin Barbey Charitable Trust, an additional $100,000 were awarded this year, for a total of $240,000 in grants, doubling the number of schools served to 14. This year’s recipients are: Arlington Middle School (Lawrence, MA), Bryan Community Focus Program (Lincoln, NE), Charlestown High School (Boston, MA), Cordova High School (Rancho Cordova, CA), Cypress Creek High School (Orlando, FL), Eagle Rock Elementary School (Los Angeles, CA), North Graham Elementary School (Graham, NC), Oakland Technical High School (Oakland, CA), Mickey Mantle School PS 811 @ 149 (New York, NY), Ron Brown Academy Middle School 57 (Brooklyn, NY),Snipes Academy of Arts and Design (Wilmington, NC), South Plantation High School (Plantation, FL), Southaven High School (Southaven, MS), and Western Middle School for the Arts (Louisville, KY)

“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 widespread need for arts funding in primary and secondary schools across America. I am proud that we are now entering the second year of this program, and am excited for the years to come,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“Since we launched Andrew’s amazing Initiative last year, we have expanded our program to cover even more schools across every corner of this country. With almost a quarter million dollars available for this year’s Classroom Resource Grants, we have been able to double the number of recipient schools. I am beyond thrilled for the additional local programs we can help bolster, along with the countless students who will reap the benefits,” said Heather Hitchens, President and CEO of the American Theatre Wing.

With the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation’s help, the American Theatre 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. Through this Classroom Resource grant-giving program, funding is provided directly to under-resourced public schools to provide instruments, dance floors, lighting grids, and other necessary materials to help create new and enhance existing theater programs.

These grants are part of the American Theatre Wing’s Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, a major new national program which received $1.3 million in seed funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to promote diversity, equity, and access to the arts. This project is an expansion of the work that the multi-Tony Award winning composer and producer has been doing to promote and fund arts education through his Foundation in the United Kingdom. The Initiative’s focus is to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity, creating a stronger pipeline to the professional theater for promising artists of all backgrounds—fostering a future generation of theater makers and patrons that reflects the diversity and dynamism of America as a whole. 

The three components of the initiative are annual Classroom Resource 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.

For more information on the American Theatre Wing’s Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, visit

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, Nicole Gardner ( 

About the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation

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 $20m 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 $4.5m to Arts Educational Schools, London to create a state of the art professional theater, $3m to The Music in Secondary Schools Trust, $1.3m 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.

About the American Theatre Wing

One hundred years ago, on the eve of America’s entry into World War I, seven suffragettes—all women of the theater—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 Theater 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 theater education opportunities for underserved students through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, develop the next generation of theater professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubate innovative theater across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, foster the song of American Theater through the Jonathan Larson® Grants, honor the best in New York theatrical design with the Henry Hewes Design Award, 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 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 Twitterand Instagram @TheWing, and on





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.


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.


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.



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