Local theater all-stars Henley Street Theater and Richmond Shakespeare are lined up to receive a healthy dose of grant funding, and the result will lead to about 6,000 Richmond students being exposed to the Great Bard.
The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, have awarded the local companies with these funds to help expand Shakespeare performances in about 20 local middle schools.
The companies plan to work within SOL guidelines to perform these plays at the same time they are taught in schools.
“Richmond Public Schools looks forward to the partnership with Henley Street Theatre and Richmond Shakespeare,” said Terry Perkins, Richmond City Director of Curriculum and Instruction in a press release from earlier this month.
Perkins said the program brings authentic learning to the classroom. ”Richmond Public Schools appreciates the opportunity to work with Henley Street Theatre and Richmond Shakespeare to help make the English/Language Arts Standards of Learning come alive for our students and teachers.”
Henley Street and Richmond Shakespeare Artistic Director Jan Powell said she was excited to bring these plays to children who may be seeing Shakespeare performed live for the first time. Additionally, she hopes the live performances will give context to the plays, and make them easier for those who find the old-english language difficult “if not impossible” to read.
“This wonderful grant will allow us the opportunity to reach thousands of students in a way that brings Shakespeare’s exquisite language to life,” said Powell.
The grant funding is part of the nationally funded Shakespeare in American Communities, which aims to “ to build future audiences by education and inspiring student to become informed theatergoers and active participants with the arts and civic organizations that bring distinction to their communities.”