In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift in education across the country, Tony Award nominee and Executive Producer Hailey Kilgore presents PROJECT SING OUT!, a one-night-only livestreamed event to raise funds for the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) to support arts education, specifically in low-income communities and communities of color.
The livestreamed event will take place on Monday, July 20at 7pm (EST) in partnership with Playbill.com and can be viewed exclusively on Playbill.com’s YouTube Channel and Facebook page.
Our mission is to universally keep the arts alive by igniting creativity and inclusivity while paying homage to our educators, empowering young artists, and honoring the Broadway community. We are dedicated to making sure arts programming is available in communities large and small.
We have talked about the effects of COVID-19 on Broadway, but my thoughts are with the kids who will be the future of Broadway. We need to ensure young thespians don’t lose their safe, creative spaces atschool. I was one of those kids and it is our responsibility as the Broadway community to raise up the next generation of designers, directors, stage managers, choreographers and artists as they are the future of Broadway.
- Hailey Kilgore, Executive Producer, Project Sing Out!
The Educational Theatre Foundation was launched in November of 2017 as the philanthropic arm of the Educational Theatre Association, which is the home of the International Thespian Society. ETF provides essential financial support to enhance excellence in theatre education and to expand access to school theatre programs for every child, putting them on a more positive life path. ETF is focused on three areas: JumpStart Theatre, to create sustainable musical theatre programs where there previously were none; need-based grants to schools, to provide teaching and performance resources and equipment in under-resourced schools; and merit and need-based grants to individuals, to nurture the next generation of theatre teachers and artists. In its first year, ETF has awarded more than $650,000 in grants, directly impacting high school theatre programs in 50 cities, and enabling the development of musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools in six states.
While there are nearly 26,000 K-12 school-based theatre programs throughout the United States, many at-risk students, who stand to benefit the most from theatre education, have little to no access to it.
According to the U.S. Department of Education:
Only 28% of public high schools in high poverty areas offer theatre instruction. National Center for Education Statistics, 2012
Predictions for the 2020-2021 school year indicate 25-40% budget cuts for schools, putting theatre and arts at even greater risk for cuts.
In 2008, African-American and Hispanic students had less than half the access to arts education
as white students.
The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) and its parent organization, the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), believe that every child in America deserves access to theatre in their school because theatre can directly and positively impact a student’s academic performance and career preparedness. In fact, many studies have shown that students involved in theatre read at higher proficiency levels, have better attendance records, and are less likely to drop out or engage in risky behavior. Theatre education not only provides students with a safe space for self-expression, but teaches essential 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
This is a time of incredible need for under-resourced schools and those with high percentages of BIPOC enrollment. Historically, only 28 percent of public high schools in high poverty areas offer theatre instruction. With the anticipated cuts in 2020-2021 state education budgets, these theatre programs will be at even greater risk, at a time when theatre and arts education is more essential than ever for students’ social and emotional wellbeing.
- Julie Cohen Theobald, President, Educational Theatre Foundation
Theatre students critically think and problem-solve artistic, academic, and life challenges in both conventional and unconventional ways.
Theatre students communicate in a variety of playmaking contexts to convey their own ideas and to interpret the ideas of others.
Theatre students collaborate to cultivate diverse ideas, solutions, and common goals, both onstage and backstage
Theatre students create personally meaningful theatrical stories generated from a range of sources and ideas.
Theatre students innovate to create new understanding of existing artistic work, historical facts, and cultural norms.
Theatre students evaluate information to reflect on its personal and artistic value.
Theatre students adapt to changing circumstances in a variety of artistic and personal situations
Theatre students self-direct to manage their own learning goals and improve as theatrical artists.
It is imperative that all students have access to an equitable delivery of arts education that includes dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts that supports their educational, social, and emotional well-being, taught by certified professional arts educators in partnership with community arts providers.
Teaching and learning will never quite be the same in our post-COVID-19 world. However, our commitment to provide rich and varied educational experiences remains unwavering. The arts have played an important role in these tumultuous times and will continue to do so for all students, including the traditionally underrepresented, those with special needs, and from low-income families. Here’s why:
Self-awareness, self-efficacy, self-management and perseverance, social awareness and relationship skills are central to any arts education activity, no matter the age and ability of the student or the environment in which the learning takes place. The arts, with their strong emphasis on team-building and self-reflection are supremely suited to re-ignite students’ interest in learning through collaboration, while simultaneously fostering creativity, critical thinking, and communication.
Celebrating our ability to come together as educators and students is vital to creating a healthy and inclusive school community. The arts, through a rich partnership among certified arts educators, teaching artists, and community arts providers, play a valuable role in helping students and their families build and sustain community and cultural connections.
As defined in ESSA, “music and the arts” are part of a well-rounded education. Every state in the nation recognizes the importance of the arts as reflected in rigorous PreK-12 state arts standards. Forty-six states require an arts credit to receive a high school diploma, and 43 states have instructional requirements in the arts for elementary and secondary schools. As noted in Arts Education for America’s Students: A Shared Endeavor: “An education without the arts is inadequate.”
The healing and unifying power of the arts has been evident as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country. We have seen and heard it play out through works of art on sidewalks, shared musical moments from porches, in plays and dance performances, and every other imaginable iteration of art making. As states and schools work through multiple challenges in the years ahead, arts education must remain central to a well-rounded education and fully funded to support the well- being of all students and the entire school community.Download the Full Report