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Bay Area Children's Theatre Welcomes Five More Schools to Disney Musicals in Schools Program

The Bay Area Children's Theatre (BACT) has launched its second year of outreach to local schools under a two-year, $100,000 grant from Disney by selecting five elementary schools in Oakland and Richmond to participate in after-school musical theatre education.

Oakland schools selected for this academic year are: Lazaer Charter Academy, Berkley Maynard Academy, and Hoover Elementary. Richmond schools are: Coronado Elementary and Stege Elementary. The program has expanded to Richmond this year for the first time.

Disney Musicals in Schools was established in 2009 by Disney Theatrical Group to create sustainable musical theatre programs in urban elementary schools. To be eligible, schools must have a free and reduced lunch rate of 70% or higher.

"This year's schools are all different and range from tiny to large, but they are all very passionate about bringing musical theatre to their students and have very strong teams of committed staff members," said BACT Education Program Manager Amanda Maxwell. "I'm very excited about the learning potential for both the students and the staff."

Each of the selected schools will participate in a 17-week rehearsal process to produce a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical involving 3rd-5th graders. BACT teaching artists will serve as production and creative advisors and will train the school teams to run the program themselves in future years.

The schools will receive:

  • A free performance license to a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical (available shows include: 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The Aristocats, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Winnie the Pooh)
  • Free ShowKit materials, including a director's guide, student scripts, cross-curricular activities, accompaniment and rehearsal CDs, and a choreography DVD
  • Free in-school support from BACT

In addition to performing the musical they have chosen to produce, the 2016-2017 schools will present one of the songs from their production to the other participants, friends and families at a Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share Celebration in May.

In this second year of the program, BACT is working in an advisory capacity with the original four Oakland school teams while introducing the program to the new school teams.

Describing the impact the program had on her school last year, Principal Stephanie Richards of Achieve Academy, wrote: "If you could only see what this has done for our school and for our students! A painfully shy child is getting on stage without hesitation and speaking clearly and happily. This program has brought our students together in an amazing way."

Established in 2004, the Bay Area Children's Theatre, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serves more than 90,000 children and adults throughout the Bay Area, with main stage performances in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and San Ramon; selected productions in local schools; and classes and summer camps in more than 10 East Bay communities.

Our Mission: To inspire young audiences with imaginative productions, introduce children of all backgrounds to the excitement of live theatre, and create an engaging, entertaining, and educational environment in which children and their families can explore and enjoy the arts.

How Bay Area Children's Theatre Carries Out Its Mission:

· Bring high quality, professional theatre to children and their families, with artists who create vibrant worlds that are intriguing to young audiences

· Encourage young people to explore literature, language, and the arts by producing stage adaptations of great children's books

· Engage preschoolers in the world of theatre with productions specially designed for them

· Develop and perform exciting new work for the stage

· Reach out to children who might not otherwise experience live theatre with free tickets, special performances for school groups, and touring productions at local schools

· Create touring productions for young audiences nationwide

· Partner with communities to meet the need for theatre education

· Introduce children to the joy of performance through our theatre education program

DISNEY THEATRICAL GROUP (DTG) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world's most successful commercial theatre enterprises, bringing live entertainment events to a global annual audience of more than 19 million people in more than 50 countries. Under the Disney Theatrical Productions banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway musicals around the world, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John & Tim Rice's Aida, TARZAN®, Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, The Little Mermaid, Peter and the Starcatcher, Newsies, and Aladdin. Frozen, based on the Academy Award®-winning film, is slated to open on Broadway in 2018. Other successful stage musical ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney's High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, and King David in concert. DTP has collaborated with the country's leading regional theatres to develop new stage titles including The Jungle Book and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Disney Theatrical Group also delivers live shows globally through its license to FeLD Entertainment, producer of Disney on Ice and Disney Live! For over 30 years, Disney on Ice and Disney Live! have brought beloved Disney stories and characters annually to over 12 million guests in nearly 50 countries worldwide, through productions such as Marvel Universe Live! and Frozen, the most well attended and highest grossing Disney on Ice production to date. In addition, DTG licenses musical titles for local, school and community theatre productions through Music Theatre International, including The Lion King Experience, a unique holistic arts education program wherein accredited elementary and middle schools produce condensed, age-appropriate JR. and KIDS adaptations of The Lion King.

MUSIC THEATER INTERNATIONAL (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theaters from around the world the rights to perform the largest selections of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to more than 60,000 theatrical organizations in the U.S. and in over 60 countries worldwide.

MTI is particularly dedicated to the idea of theater as education and has created special collections for younger performers. The MTI Broadway Junior Collection® includes "JR." titles, 60-minute musicals for performance by middle school children; and "KIDS" titles, 30-minute musicals for performance by elementary school children. MTI School Editions™ are musicals that have been annotated for performance by high school students, and the Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) Collection are 70-minute musicals designed for adults to perform for children.

Pictured: Students performing at the DMIS Share Celebration in June. Photo by Melissa Nigro.

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