Stamford's Palace Theatre Partners with Boys & Girls Club for New Education Program
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than 95 percent of school-aged children attend schools that have cut arts funding since the recession began. As those cuts continue and grow, it is the responsibility of organizations like Stamford's Palace Theatre to fill in those arts education gaps. This fall, The Palace is teaming up with the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford to offer a new arts education program: Young Playwrights Festival - Script to Stage. It will be presented on Tuesday, October 1st at the Club's annual announcement of programs being offered to the children it serves. This new program is being sponsored by Pitney Bowes and will be taught by Broadway performer and teaching artist David Robertson.
During the 9-week program, the students will improve their literacy skills through reading and script writing. There will be assignments given in reading and script writing that must be completed weekly. Most of the assignments will be hand written, using the material/materials that they themselves are developing and collaborating on with a partner or older and advanced student. In addition to advancing literacy, the Young Playwrights Festival also seeks to nurture creativity, cultivate the students' modes of self-expression, and improve self-esteem.
"After meeting with several educators, it was clear that literacy and writing and spelling skills of students are concerns," said Palace Theatre Director of Education Carol Bryan. "So many of the devices that children use to accomplish their homework assignments have built in spell checks. When they have to write essays without the aid of those devices, they have some difficulty. This program seeks to shrink those achievement gaps through creative thinking and good old fashioned pencil and paper."
"Hopefully offering this program to the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford is just the first step in the launch of the Young Playwrights Festival," said Palace Theatre Executive Director Michael E. Moran, Jr. "It has the potential to reach into other community centers in the region and may even work into the schools."
David Robertson (Producer, Director, Choreographer, Teaching Artist) began his professional training at New York's High School of Performing Arts. He has served as assistant choreographer/producer for the Academy, Tony and Emmy Awards, and he is the founder of the Triple Threat Performing Arts Academy in New York City, dedicated to exposing adolescents aged 8-16 to the performing arts through educational and nutritional programs. Mr. Robertson has also directed The Palace's own Triple Threat Performer Intensive the last two summers.