Ensemble Theatre Company Earns California Arts Council 'Youth Arts Action Grant'
The California Arts Council announced a grant award of $16,200 to Ensemble Theatre Company's (ETC's) 3rdAnnual Young Playwrights' Festival as part of its Youth Arts Action program.
The California Arts Council's Youth Arts Action (YAA) supports projects for youth outside of school time in artistic venues and community settings (as well as on school sites). The YAA program encourages relevant, dynamic, and innovative community building and learning through youth-focused arts and culture projects. "We are grateful to the California Art Council, not only for the award to help fund our annual Young Playwrights' Festival, but also for their recognition of ETC's efforts in art education for today's youth," says Brian McDonald, who became ETC's first full-time Director of Education in June 2018.
ETC's Young Playwrights' Festival is a 5-month-long program that offers young writers a safe and nurturing environment to learn about the craft of playwriting and to develop a short play of their own, which is subsequently produced and staged with professional directors and actors for public audiences.
Students who complete the Young Playwrights' Festival receive multiple and varied opportunities to develop their creativity and expand their artistic skills. Phase one consists of weekly classroom instruction focusing on the study of playwriting techniques and includes a brief history of American theater and a lively forum for discussion and critique of student work. By the end of phase one, each student will have completed a draft of an original 10-minute play. Phase two provides one-on-one guidance from a professional playwright to help students engage in the revision process. During phase three, students collaborate with an experienced theater director and work with professional actors to produce a live staged reading for the public. Highlights include participation in a live casting session and an on-stage talk-back session with the audience.
"Responsibility to the story is the thing," says McDonald, "and the development of story-tellers for the future of the American theater may be one of the most valuable youth educational programs that ETC can offer the Santa Barbara community."
ETC is one of 244 grantees chosen for the Youth Arts Action program. This awardwas featured as part of California Arts Council's largest investment in arts and culture in nearly 20 years, with grant funds totaling a projected $24,508,541 for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
"Arts and culture are inextricably linked to our humanity," said Nashormeh Lindo, California Arts Council Chair.
"They serve as a universal touchpoint for understanding and addressing our societal issues-dismantling inequity, healing trauma, reframing justice, inspiring truth and shaping futures. The Council is humbled to support the vital work of Ensemble Theatre Company's and its passionate efforts to make a better California for us all."
Photo Courtesy Ensemble Theatre Company