The company is using the challenge grant to build funding for its outreach program to Philadelphia's public schools, which are eliminating many arts programs because of budget cuts.
In a letter sent to its patrons, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre told the story of John, a student in a Philadelphia public high school, who had not spoken in class all year and didn't participate in class discussions. "Yet, when The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre came to do a program, he volunteered to play Hamlet. And he was good. Really good. His teacher said a spark had been lit, and he came alive. Theatre and Shakespeare can have that kind of effect."
Such engagement equals education. The theatre says the dropout rate in Philadelphia's high schools is about 40 percent. Arts programs engage students, studies repeatedly show, and John adds a face to the statistics.
"A donation of $100 gives six students the opportunity to see a Shakespeare play or attend a week-long residency," the letter says, and goes on to note that the challenge grant automatically doubles that number. "That means your donation will give 12 students a transformative educational experience."
Click here for the online donation page.
May 24, 2013