Denver Center for the Performing Arts Receives $25,000 Rose Community Foundation Award
At its 20th anniversary celebration held on June 18, the Rose Community Foundation recognized nine Denver area non-profits with its "Innovate for Good" awards. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) was awarded $25,000 to help fund its new "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" program.
Supported by an initial grant from Anadarko Petroleum, Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is a "food truck for the arts" concept designed to help provide affordable, high quality theatrical performances to high school students in school parking lots followed by actor-led workshops to support classroom teaching and learning.
The initial test run of the project visited Weld Central High School in Weld County. Six actors performed an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet to four groups of students over the course of one day. They then returned the following day to engage students in debate and dialogue. The actors took topics from the play and made them relevant to issues today; for instance, do parents have the right to put a tracker on their child's phone? Most answered "no," but when the situation was slightly altered to ask if a parent should track a troubled sibling who is having violent outbursts the responses weren't quite as obvious.
"The goal of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is to elevate critical thinking skills, engagement and exposure to theatre," said DCPA Director of Education Allison Watrous. "We know that exposure to the arts develops creativity and innovation - skills critical to establishing a vibrant community and workforce. We hope that the program not only inspires student participation, but also strong financial support such as that from the Rose Community Foundation so that we may take our 'theatre truck' to high schools throughout the state."