Florida Studio Theatre Partners With Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to Expand Scholarship Program

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Florida Studio Theatre Partners With Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to Expand Scholarship Program

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) announces a new partnership with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to provide key support for FST to expand its Children's Scholarship Program, providing financial assistance to differently abled youth and those in need, as well as pilot a new program dedicated to elementary students on the Autism Spectrum.

Since its founding in 1982, FST Theatre School has supported children ages 4-17 in expressing themselves through theater workshops and classes. Over 700 students take part in FST's youth education programs every year. $100,000 in support from the Barancik Foundation will grow FST's scholarship fund, making the program accessible to even more students who otherwise could not afford this theatrical training. Leveraging partnerships with schools in Sarasota, FST will identify TITLE I students who might benefit from FST's expanded scholarship program.

"Over the years, I have witnessed the power of the theatre imagination to change young people's lives," shared Kate Alexander, FST's Associate Director At-Large. "The children have come from all kinds of backgrounds-a little boy whose family was on food stamps, a child who had seen his parents' hard divorce, or the siblings that lived in rented rooms. In the theatre, they all found a world of possibilities."

The grant will also make it possible for FST to expand its VIP Performing Arts Program, serving individuals with physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Since 1992, FST's VIP Performing Arts Program has provided individuals of all ages with acting, dance, and musical theatre classes at no cost. For almost 20 years, FST's VIP Program has been at capacity. Thanks to support from this grant, FST will be able to grow the program for the first time since 2000, increasing enrollment and impacting more participants than ever before.

"FST's VIP program is a life line for my girls," shared Julie Audet, the mother of two VIP students. "It has helped them grow, express, feel, love, and explore. The staff's tireless patience, energy, creativity, friendship, humor, compassion, and plain love for our family is admirable and so appreciated. I cannot thank the creators, educators, and supporters of the VIP program enough for their support and vision for such an instrumental program in our lives."

Barancik Foundation support will also underwrite The Puzzle Project, devoted to helping students on the Autism Spectrum in grades K-5 build verbal and non-verbal communication skills. The Puzzle Project will introduce an all-new after school program for young students on the spectrum, taking place once a week for ten weeks in Sarasota County elementary schools.

For more information about these programs, please contact Denee Lortz at dlortz@floridastudiotheatre.org.

Known as Sarasota's Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist, Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman's Club building - now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret, the renovated Gompertz Theatre, the John C. Court Cabaret and Bowne's Lab Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Producing Artistic Director and CEO, Richard Hopkins, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation-a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, FL. The Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical research. Visit BarancikFoundation.org to learn more.

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