Award-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has partnered with the American Theatre Wing to award grants to American public schools.
Award-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has partnered with the American Theatre Wing to award grants to American public schools.
(© David Gordon)

The American Theatre Wing has announced the recipients of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative Classroom Resource Grants. Grant requests of up to $100,000 were considered for K-12 public schools, with over 175 applications received. This year's recipients are Broome Street Academy (New York), 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).

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.

"I believe passionately that the arts should be available to all young people," said Andrew Lloyd Webber, who currently has four of his shows running on Broadway stages across New York City (Cats, Sunset Boulevard, The Phantom of the Opera, and School of Rock). "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."

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 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.

These inaugural grants are part of the American Theatre Wing's Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, 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 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 four years for students to pursue theater studies at the university level.

"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," said Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing. "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."