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Ensemble Theatre Company Announces Major Gift to Launch Education Outreach Program
Santa Barbara, CA – Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) proudly announces a generous $100,000 grant from Virginia Castagnola-Hunter to launch a new education initiative, fulfilling a long-term goal of expanding programming to include comprehensive education and outreach.
Following a highly successful partnership with Globe Education, the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, underwritten by Sara Miller McCune and the Leni Fund, ETC will now have the funds to expand its educational programming and outreach offerings. As Santa Barbara’s sole professional theater company, ETC is in a unique position to offer world-class, professional arts education and immersion programs to students and young children in Santa Barbara County. These new offerings include in-school workshops, summer intensive acting workshops, and subsidized student matinee performances. Future plans include a re-launch of its Storybook Theater for young audiences and a workshop that presents Shakespeare performances by Young Actors.
“Ginny Hunter is a visionary and her extraordinary gift is game-changing,” said Jonathan Fox, ETC’s Artistic Director. “Our recent workshops in Santa Barbara’s high schools, which prepared young audiences for our production of Macbeth, were extremely well-received by students and teachers. We had hoped to continue with our upcoming production of Porgy and Bess. Ginny’s gift enables us to launch a more complete and much-needed education program.”
“Introducing young people to professional arts is so important to me,” said Ms. Castagnola-Hunter. “I saw first-hand how thrilled the students were at seeing Ensemble’s production of Macbeth and how vital such an experience is in shaping young minds. I hope my gift will inspire others.”
In the summer of 2017, ETC will launch its inaugural High School Summer Theater Intensive for between 18 and 20 students entering grades 9 through 12. This three-week intensive program will be led by professional actors and teaching artists, offering exposure and training to a range of theatrical skills, culminating in an original theatrical piece created by the students, and performed in the New Vic. This program provides a unique opportunity for students to work in a professional theater under the direction of and alongside theater professionals. The discipline-based instruction will focus on movement and voice, physical storytelling, improvisation, character building, and ensemble work.
Continuing its partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District and the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, ETC will develop curated in-school programming for high school students in preparation for fully subsidized student matinee performances. Led by ETC’s Education Coordinator, Dramaturg, and members of the artistic team, these in-school activities will connect students with themes of the upcoming productions, providing an excellent opportunity for students to experience a professional theater performance, and engage with thought-provoking themes sure to incite meaningful dialogue.
The student-matinee performance will be followed by a question and answer session with the cast. ETC will prepare study guides closely aligned with core curriculum goals, intended to deepen both the students’ and the teachers’ enjoyment and insight into the play.
Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre Company is Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theatre company. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jonathan Fox and Managing Director Jill Seltzer, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country. The 2016-17 season continues in February with The Gershwins’Porgy and Bess, composed by George Gershwin with libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin, adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks (2/9/17 – 2/26/17); Baby Doll, adapted by Emily Mann and Pierre Laville from the film by Tennessee Williams (4/13/17 – 4/30/17); and Syncopation, by Allan Knee (6/8/17 – 6/25/17). Tickets are available through the ETC box office at (805) 965-5400, or online at etcsb.org. The New Vic is located at 33 W. Victoria Street, Santa Barbara CA, 93101.