Thousands of Culver City students have benefited from theatre arts programming offered through the School District’s Front and Center Theatre Collaborative, and the District showed off the unique collaboration with an extravaganza last Friday.
For the school year, six art partners are providing nearly $200,000 worth of programming. 24th Street Theatre, The Actors’ Gang, Center Theatre Group, Story Pirates, We Tell Stories, and Young Storytellers are delivering 475 hours of classroom and afterschool instruction, and more than 30 assemblies and field trips across all school sites and grades.
The free Front and Center Theatre Extravaganza: A Showcase of Theatre Arts Education in the School District featured interactive theatre arts activities, performances by all six art partners and students, and a rainbow art installation.
Several hundred parents and community members sampled the one-of-a-kind theatre arts programming the District offers.
“This remarkable initiative,” said Supt. Josh Arnold, “gives every child the opportunity to experience the arts.
“The arts are an essential component in developing the whole child and empowering students to embrace becoming lifelong learners.”
Here is a video recap: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6S5w2JcXVgI&t
With more than 4,500 TK-12th grade students per year receiving access to storytelling, set design, movie-making, improv, playwriting, performing, and being part of a theatre audience, the District’s Front and Center Collaborative is a partnership that brings together teaching artists from professional theatre groups with local funding partners to create an unparalleled collective impact.
It represents the highest concentration of theatre arts programming per student in any Los Angeles County school district.
In response to public school budget cuts that curtailed access to the arts, Janice Pober, Sony senior vice president for global corporate social responsibility, founded the Collaborative in 2009 with support from the District, the Culver City Education Foundation and City Hall.
Sony Pictures Entertainment funded a year of strategic planning before officially launching the program in 2010 with the support of the Carol and James Collins Foundation, District PTAs and most recently the Fineshriber Family Foundation.
Past major funders include Playa Vista and the Drown Foundation. Since 2010, the Collaborative has worked to provide theatre arts at no cost to families.
In its eighth year, the Front and Center Theatre Collaborative has offered a variety of assemblies, residencies, workshops, professional development and opportunities to experience professional performances for all elementary and secondary students as well as teachers throughout the district. The Collaborative provides sequential, standards-based TK-12 theatre arts programming to students at nine school sites, El Marino, El Rincon, Farragut, La Ballona, Linwood Howe, the Middle School, Culver City High School, Culver Park, and iAcademy.