Grant from Community Foundation expands Macomb Center for the Performing Arts program that brings literature to life

– Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:00AM

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has awarded a $25,000 grant to help the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts expand Page to Stage, a program that presents curriculum-linked stage adaptations of significant works of American literature to students.

Page to Stage, which began in 2009, brings literature to life for students by creating theatrical productions featuring characters from history and great books. The productions, which star professional actors, give voice to words on the page and inspire young people to find their own voices. The shows offer study guides for teachers to use in their classrooms before and after their trip, and most performances feature a Q & A with actors.

The program has been praised by educators as a way to connect kids to literature in a way that makes an important impact.

“It is programs like Page to Stage which bring to life the literature and history we study,” Erin E. Brokenshire, a teacher with Westwood New Tech High School in Dearborn Heights said after a 2012 performance. “The impact will stay with my students for a long time.”

Additional funding for the program is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, ArtWorks, The Kresge Foundation, Target, the Macomb Community College Foundation and individual donor Julius Cicchini, owner of Troy-based Knight Construction.  The funding allows the Macomb Center  to offer a significantly reduced student ticket price of $5 and present a meaningful student field trip option that complements and expands classroom activities.

“If you don’t open up the door to our youth,” asks Cicchini, “how are they ever going to open up the door to the world?” Doubling in Size The expansion of Page to Stage is expected to double the program’s reach to 7,000 students from pre-K through college age, with the Macomb Center presenting 14 performances of eight titles. In 2012-13, four performances were presented of three titles geared to students in grade 6 and above.

The program also offers a limited number of in-class residencies with New York-based American Place Theatre Literature to Life®, which is presenting “Black Boy” this year. American Place has been involved with Page to Stage since the beginning of the program.

The schedule of performances is as follows: • Fahrenheit 451: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 10 a.m. • Tomás and the Library Lady: Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. • The Shape of a Girl: Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. • Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales: Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. • Black Boy:  Tuesday, Feb. 4, 10 a.m. and Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014, 10 a.m. • The Great Mountain: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. • The Snail and the Whale: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. • The Miracle Worker: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 10 a.m. (will be interpreted in American Sign Language)

For more information about the Page to Stage series, contact Meghan Mott at mottme@macomb.edu or 586.226.4759.

About Macomb Center for the Performing Arts

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is a community enrichment program of Macomb Community College dedicated to providing a diverse range of family-oriented cultural enrichment experiences.  Hosting more than 100,000 visitors annually, the Macomb Center presents high-quality professional performances, offers educational outreach in the arts, provides a performance venue for community-based arts organizations, and, in partnership with the adjacent Lorenzo Cultural Center, creates unique opportunities for multifaceted cultural programming.

More than 25,000 K-12 students annually attend events at the Macomb Center, with 700 participating in arts education programs.  Further details about the Macomb Center and its current season’s lineup are available at www.MacombCenter.com.

About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations committed to the future of southeast Michigan. The Foundation works to improve the region’s quality of life by connecting those who care with causes that matter. The Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $600 million through more than 45,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit www.cfsem.org.

Media Contact: James Melton, 586.445.727,  meltonj@macomb.edu

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