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Southwestern Receives $10,000 Grant to Support Theatre for Young Audiences Program

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Grant will help fund November performance of ‘The Yellow Boat’

Southwestern has received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that it will use to help local children enjoy a theatre performance.

The funds will be used to stage the November 2010 Theatre for Young Audiences production of “The Yellow Boat” by David Saar. The funds will pay for a guest director for the play and will help bring 1,300 local children attend the performance.

The play will be directed by Jenny Larson, artistic director of Salvage Vanguard Theater in Austin, and will feature a cast of Southwestern students.

Southwestern has offered its Theater for Young Audiences program since 2005. The program is designed to introduce live theatre to children who otherwise would have little or no opportunity to have such an experience. It also is designed to help children think about important topics. “The Yellow Boat,” for example, is a true story about a boy named Benjamin who contracted HIV through a blood transfusion at the age of six. The play was written by Benjamin’s father, David Saar, who is the founder and artistic director of the Childsplay theatre program in Tempe, Ariz.

The performances for schoolchildren will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, through Friday, Nov. 19. These performances are free for youth 10 years and older accompanied by an adult. For ticket reservations, contact Desi Roybal, associate professor of theatre, at roybald@southwestern.edu.

Additional performances open to the public will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 20 and at 3 p.m. on Nov. 20 and 21. To purchase tickets for these performances, contact the SU Box Office at 512-863-1378 Monday through Friday between 1-5 p.m. or by going online to www.southwestern.edu/boxoffice. They play will be performed in the Jones Theater.

Previous Theatre for Young Audiences performances have included “Androcles the Lion,” “Seussical,” “The Trial of Goldilocks,” “Pinocchio” and “This is Not a Pipe Dream,” a play about renowned surrealist artist Rene Magritte.

“Theater for Young Audiences is a fantastic experience for the community and for Southwestern,” says Roybal, who co-founded the program along with Theatre Professor Rick Roemer. “If you want to get people interested in the arts, you have to start them at a young age.”

Students in Roybal’s Paideia group are developing resource and discussion packets that teachers can use in conjunction with “The Yellow Boat.”

The NEA grant was funded by the economic stimulus package and is part of the NEA’s Arts Education Invitational Grant program. Private donors have helped fund other Theatre for Yong Audiences productions.