The new Broadway musical Come From Away, which currently runs at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, and the recent limited engagement of the Broadway debut of August Wilson's Jitney are the recipients of the Broadway League's 2017 New York Education and Engagement Grants.
Each production received a $5,000 grant towards its 2017 educational and engagement initiatives in an effort to encourage Broadway productions to create more opportunities for young people.
Come From Away's “I Am an Islander” project is a cultural exchange program that connects students from NYC and Newfoundland. With the help of the New York City Department of Education and six Newfoundland towns, students in Collaborative Classrooms conduct interviews to learn about each other’s neighborhoods, families, friends, and experiences growing up in their respective communities. Students then use these stories to create an art installation to be shared with their partner classrooms. Each New York City student will also be invited to a performance of Come From Away.
The Manhattan Theatre Club engaged a class of about 20 students at Pathways to Graduation, a program in the Bronx that helps students aged 18-21 earn a high school equivalency diploma. MTC worked with these students through WrOTE (Write on the Edge), a playwriting residency built around August Wilson’s Jitney. During the 11-session program, an MTC teaching artist led the class through a series of workshops to prepare students to attend a performance of the play, and then guided them in the development of original short plays inspired by the themes of Jitney.
“The Broadway League is proud to award Come from Away and August Wilson’s Jitney with the 2017 New York Education and Engagement Grants, awards that were designed to inspire professional and personal development. Outstanding programs such as these are crucial for the growth and survival of Broadway as they educate students and motivate a lifelong appreciation of the arts,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, in a statement. “These two shows especially reflect how theatre can be inspired by world events to tell a story. Innovative programs that educate about the craft of theatre, motivate social awareness, and instill a deep appreciation of the arts are crucial for the growth and survival of Broadway, and we applaud and thank these recipients."