Every year, over 70,000 people come through the doors at Center Place. Among those 70,000 are over 3,000 students from area Title 1 Schools who come to see live theatre courtesy of Center Place’s Children’s Theatre Outreach Program.
The Title 1 Schools are able to send the students to Center Place for free (transportation is not included) thanks to a grant sponsored by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. Despite lean budgets, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County was able to secure arts funding for this year’s grants process and 23 cultural development grants were awarded funding on October 15.
“The Arts Council went above and beyond to get the funding this year, and we are grateful,” said Dawn Galia, Executive Director of Center Place. “Every dollar we receive from this grant goes back to the community through the Children’s Theatre Outreach Program. No money is used for general expenses,” added Galia. “Most of the children that come to these shows have never seen live theatre. At Center Place we believe that participation in the arts opens up children’s worlds and offers them the skill they need for a bright future.”
Center Place hosts students from all over Hillsborough County through this program. This year, Center Place will have ten shows for Title 1 Schools. Title 1 funding, which is authorized through Congress, provides supplemental funds to school districts to assist schools with the highest concentrations of poverty to meet school educational goals. To qualify, school districts must provide services to schools where at least 75 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches.
The shows scheduled for the 2010-2011 season include School House Rock, Santa’s Holiday Revue, Rapunzel, American Tale Sing-a-long, The Frog Prince and The Three Little Pigs. According to Galia, there are still spots available for schools to apply to be a part of Center Place’s Children’s Theatre Outreach Program. If you are a teacher from a Title 1 School and would like to have students in grades kindergarten to third come to the theatre, call Galia at 685-8888.
Center Place is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. For more information on Center Place, visit the Website at www.centerplacebrandon.org.