Disney grant to launch musical theater program at two Richmond schools

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A $100,000 Disney grant is set to launch musical theater programs at two schools in Richmond and five in Oakland.

The program administered by Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) expanded into Richmond in its second year to include Coronado Elementary and Stege Elementary.

The Disney Musicals in Schools program aims to create sustainable musical theater programs in urban elementary schools where a high percentage of students come from low-income families.

Students between third and fifth grades will participate in a 17-week rehearsal process to produce a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical. Teaching artists at BACT will serve as production and creative advisors and will train schools to run the program in future years.

 The schools will receive a free license to perform a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical, with   available shows including 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The Aristocats, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Winnie the Pooh.

They will also receive the free director’s guide, student scripts, cross-curricular activities, accompaniment and rehearsal CDs, and a choreography DVD.

The program has worked wonders for students, according to Principal Stephanie Richards of Achieve Academy (Oakland), which participated in the program last year.

“A painfully shy child is getting on stage without hesitation and speaking clearly and happily,” Richards said in a statement. “This program has brought our students together in an amazing way.”

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