DCPA's upcoming 'Macbeth' gets $25K boost from NEA

The Denver Center’s most recent Shakespeare-related production was January’s world premiere of the hit drama ‘The Book of Will,’ by Lauren Gunderson. Photo by Adams VisCom.

By Suzanne Yoe
For the DCPA NewsCenter

Students in Colorado just took a giant step toward a close encounter with William Shakespeare. Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts will welcome more than 4,500 students to its fall production of Macbeth.

In an announcement made this week, Arts Midwest distributed $1 million in grants to 40 nonprofit theater companies nationwide. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival also received a $25,000 grant for its upcoming production of Julius Caesar. To see the complete list of 40 selected companies, click here

NEA QUOTEThe grants mark the 15th year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program that has introduced 2.5 million middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the works of Shakespeare.

“We are honored to have once again been selected to participate in this remarkable program,” said DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden. “This year alone, we will be able to welcome 4,500 students to Macbeth, of which nearly 1,000 will attend on scholarship thanks to this generous gift. The Arts Midwest/NEA award is a significant contributor that enables the DCPA to reach its goal of serving more than 33,000 students at 10 different productions in the coming season as part of our larger Student Matinee program.”

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In its most recently completed fiscal year, the DCPA served more than 84,000 youth, nearly 14,000 of whom attended as part of the Student Matinee program. With the recent launch of Theatre for Young Audiences (ages 3-9) combined with significant support of individuals, businesses, foundations and the NEA, the DCPA will more than double the Student Matinee attendance in one season.

Macbeth_seasonlineup_200x200“The importance of Arts Education is vital to academic achievement,” said Allison Watrous, Director of DCPA Education. “In study after study, student exposure to the arts elevates test scores, improves graduation rates and fosters creativity — the number one skill sought by employers today. Plus, it’s fun.”

Students who participate in the Shakespeare in American Communities-funded Student Matinee program will attend the professionally-produced DCPA Theatre Company production of Macbeth (Sept. 15-Oct. 29), enjoy a post-show discussion with the cast and receive an in-school workshop that directly ties the themes of the play to Colorado Academic Standards.

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

“Shakespeare’s plays teach creativity, history, complex and intriguing themes, and rich language,” said Susan Chandler, Arts Midwest’s Vice President. “Students — especially those in school that lack financial resources — across the U.S deserve to be introduced to live performances of his timeless works.”

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support opportunities for youth in communities across the country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Partnerships like this one with Arts Midwest help the NEA to achieve its mission of giving people across America access to the arts.”

And along with this incredible opportunity comes an equally important cautionary tale. Macbeth is a bit like “He Who Shall Not be Named” in Harry Potter. Dare to say his name in the theatre and you are sure to be doomed. (Insert evil laugh here.)

Suzanne Yoe is the DCPA’s Director of Communications and Cultural Affairs.

To learn more about the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Student Matinee program, please visit www.denvercenter.org/student-matinees or call 303-446-4829.

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