More Students Get to Know Shakespeare Thanks to Grant from Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
A new program funded in part by a Community Partnership grant from the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, “Where There’s a WILL, There’s a Way,” will provide free and subsidized tickets to the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and its education programs.
Designed to serve one or more Lehigh Valley schools with populations of students that may otherwise have limited access to such programming, “Where There’s a WILL…” is a pilot program that aims to more fully integrate a student’s experience with PSF’s summer Main Stage productions and its annual fall tour of a Shakespeare play, The Linny Fowler WillPower Tour.
“The science is compelling: a child’s engagement in the arts can increase cognitive development, graduation rates, SAT scores and future employability,” says Patrick Mulcahy, PSF producing artistic director. “This funding will allow us to combine programming for students and multiply the impact beyond what attending any one performance or set of workshops can do.”
The program’s goal is to reach 850 to 1,000 students and would measure their responses through surveys about their experience.
“Through the generosity of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, we are able to build on existing partnerships with area schools, their students and teachers,” says Mulcahy. “We know from experience that students of all ages are often surprised—and inspired—by the work they see on stage. Our real aim is for students to discover the power of language. Once that happens, a world of possibilities can open before them.”
The upcoming 25th anniversary season features three plays by Shakespeare: Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew and Love’s Labour’s Lost, in addition to the groundbreaking musicalWest Side Story, the Noël Coward classic, Blithe Spirit, and two plays for children, The Little Mermaid and Shakespeare for Kids.
PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, and Discover Lehigh Valley.
The Festival’s upcoming 25th anniversary season sponsors are Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan. Associate season sponsors are the Harry C. Trexler Trust, Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Dr. James and Penny Pantano and the Szarko Family.
The season schedule is:
Main Stage Theatre
West Side Story • June 15 – July 3
The Taming of the Shrew • July 13 – August 7
Blithe Spirit • July 21 – August 7
Shakespeare for Kids • July 27 – August 6
Julius Caesar • June 22 – July 17
Love’s Labour’s Lost • July 27 – August 7
The Little Mermaid • June 3 – August 6