Fort Walton Beach High School is pleased to announce that the American Theatre Wing—best known as the creator of the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards—is awarding the school’s theatre department with a Classroom Resource Grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative.
“I believe passionately that the arts should be available to all young people,” says the legendary Webber. “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.”
“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,” says American Theatre Wing president Heather Hitchens.
“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.”
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. This project is an expansion of the work the multi-Tony Award winning composer and producer has been doing to promote and fund arts education through his foundation in the United Kingdom.
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 theatre programs.
These grants are part of a major new national initiative, which received $1.3 million in seed funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to promote diversity, equity and access to the arts. The initiative’s focus is to bridge the gap between talent and opportunity, creating a stronger pipeline to the professional theatre for promising artists of all backgrounds—fostering a future generation of theatre makers and patrons that reflects the diversity and dynamism of America as a whole.
“The recognition from the American Theatre Wing is a tremendous honor,” says Christa Whittaker, director of Fort Walton Beach High School’s theatre department. “My students and I put in tremendous effort to keep our program one of the best in the state of Florida. It’s a blessing to have the funds to begin making the space safe to work in.”