Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Georgia Shakespeare Receives $25,000 Grant from National Endowment for the Arts

Theatre will participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation Initiative

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded Atlanta's Georgia Shakespeare with a $25,000 grant to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation for 2009 - 2010. The grant will allow Georgia Shakespeare to expand its professional tour production of Macbeth to 15 schools in underserved areas of Georgia, western North Carolina, and southeastern Alabama. Additional activities will include workshops for students and professional development for teachers. Georgia Shakespeare is one of 37 arts organizations from around the country to be selected for this year's program.

"We are honored to once again be selected to participate in this important initiative," said Georgia Shakespeare producing artistic director Richard Garner. "Shakespeare for a New Generation allows us to bring our professional school tour to areas of the southeast that might not otherwise have exposure to classic literature performed live on stage. By bringing Shakespeare's work to life, offering interactive workshops and working directly with teachers, we hope to ignite a life-long love for literature and Shakespeare that will have lasting effects on the students we reach through this program." The 2009 - 2010 grant cycle marks Georgia Shakespeare's fourth year of being selected for the competitive program.

Macbeth will be performed as part of Georgia Shakespeare's expanded Will on Wheels program, in which five classic-themed plays tour the southeast from September, 2009 through April, 2010. In addition to Macbeth, 2009/2010 titles include Alice in Wonderland, American Tall Tales: Stories from Edgar Allen Poe, Bard's Best: Lovers, Poets & Madmen, and Global Celebrations: Holidays of Light. All productions are performed by the Will Power Ensemble, Georgia Shakespeare's cast of professional actors/teaching artists and meet Georgia State Education Performance Standards. For more information, visit www.gashakespeare.org/education.

Part of the NEA's Shakespeare in American Communities initiative, Shakespeare for a New Generation targets middle and high school students, introducing young people to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. Managed by Arts Midwest, the program already has benefited more than one million students and their teachers with live performances and educational activities. The program also has provided employment to more than 1,200 theater artists, including actors, directors, stage managers, and scenic designers.

Including the newly selected companies, more than 80 of the nation's theater companies have taken part in the NEA's Shakespeare program since its inception. By June 2009, participating theater companies will have presented performances at 3,600 schools in 2,300 communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To enhance the educational impact of Shakespeare for a New Generation, the NEA also has developed free, multimedia educational resource kits. To date, more than 65,000 toolkits have been distributed to classroom teachers. Included in the kits are a teacher's guide with lesson plans, a recitation contest guide, Fun with Shakespeare brochure with word games and trivia, a timeline poster, a CD, and two educational DVDs. These resources can be ordered free of charge from www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org.
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