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Contact: Lori Ward
Vice President of Communications &

Community Relations 615-782-4077
PO Box 190660 - 505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37219

TPAC Receives One of the First After-School Creativity Grants from Disney

The Tennessee Performing Arts Center has been named one of the first recipients of an after-school creativity grant from Disney.  The $75,000 award will be used to develop sustainable theatre programs in Metro Nashville Public Schools, building on work that began when TPAC was selected as the first organization outside of New York City to offer the Disney Musicals in Schools outreach program.

“Disney’s grant allows us to expand Disney Musicals in Schools, an endeavor of TPAC Education, to children at no cost to them,” said Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC president and Chief Executive Officer, noting that TPAC has delivered arts education for three decades, from pre-school through high school, by subsidizing student participation in its annual curriculum-based season for young people. “We’ve trained and placed teaching artists in schools.  We’ve provided educators with free guidebooks, training, and resources. We’ve seen that arts education engages children in all subjects and crosses cultural and academic borders. You can imagine how energizing and encouraging it is for us to partner with Disney Theatrical Group to create musicals in Metro Nashville Schools—a new, totally different, and very exciting opportunity for our community.”

The grant helps to expand the current after-school program and set the stage for significant growth in the 2012-13 school year. 
Disney Musicals in Schools was launched in response to Disney Theatrical Group’s (DTG) concern that low-income students in urban, public schools were not afforded equitable access to the arts. After two years of the program thriving in New York City Schools, DTG announced its plan to select a performing arts organization for the launch of Disney Musicals in Schools in a community outside of New York.  TPAC Education was selected for that pilot. 
“We’re thrilled by the progress TPAC has made in bringing sustainable theatre programs to Nashville schools, and are honored that our parent company has so generously supported our shared mission to provide quality arts-instruction to public school students,” said Disney Theatrical Group president and producer Thomas Schumacher.  “Disney Musicals in Schools at TPAC is a unique collaboration between four diverse organizations: TPAC (a non-profit performing arts center), The Walt Disney Company’s philanthropic arm, the Metro-Nashville Public School system, and Disney Theatrical Group have all joined forces in an effort to get more kids involved in the arts.”
TPAC Education is now working with classroom teachers, music and art specialists in five Metro Nashville Elementary Schools to produce a Disney KIDS musical.  At no cost to them, the schools receive performance rights, educational support materials, and guidance from teaching artists, specially trained by TPAC Education and Disney Theatrical Group.  Participants this year are:  Glengarry Elementary School; Hattie Cotton STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics); Hull-Jackson Montessori; Kirkpatrick; and Percy Priest. 

Participants will present a public performance at their school this spring, while TPAC will host a “Student Share” event, open to the public, on May 17, 2012, at which schools will stage one musical number from their show on the city’s most renowned professional stage .

“One goal of the Disney after-school creativity grant is to serve low-income children. It levels the playing field, so to speak.  Disney is opening the door for equal access to the arts and their many benefits,” said O’Brien.
“By its collaborative nature, producing a musical is the ideal method of project-based arts learning. Creating a musical is fun, engaging, and meaningful for the kids. At the same time, the process contributes to academic achievement, along with the development of teamwork, communication skills, creative thinking, problem-solving and more,” said Carol Crittenden, coordinator for the Visual and Performing Arts for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

“This grant has the potential to transform individual lives and to strengthen schools for a profound, lasting impact.  Opportunities like this make Nashville and Tennessee a better place to live and to learn,” she said.

Disney KIDS musicals, created in partnership with Musical Theater International (MTI), are about 30 minutes in length, and have been adapted from the classic Disney films 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The Aristocats, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Winnie the Pooh.
For more information, visit

THE TENNESSEE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (TPAC) has welcomed more than 11 million audience members over three decades, serving more than 1.5 million students and educators through performances at TPAC, resources for teachers, classroom residencies, and enrichment programs for adults. Founded in 1980, TPAC serves several hundred thousand audience members each year with the annual series of HCA/TriStar Broadway at TPAC, a variety of special engagements, and the productions of the three resident artistic companies—Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Tennessee Repertory Theatre. For more information, visit

TPAC has been partnering with Disney Theatrical Productions since 1999, presenting Beauty and the Beast, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA, The Lion King, and High School Musical to over 200,000 theatergoers during that time. This month, Disney’s Mary Poppins will have its Nashville premiere when approximately 19,000 patrons will see the hit musical at TPAC March 20-25.

DISNEY THEATRICAL GROUP (DTG) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world’s most successful commercial theatre enterprises.  Through Disney Theatrical Productions, Disney on Ice and Disney Live!, DTG brings live entertainment events to a global annual audience of more than 19 million people in more than 50 countries.  Under the Disney Theatrical Productions banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway musicals around the world, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida, TARZAN®, Mary Poppins, a co-production by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh and The Little Mermaid. Other successful stage musical ventures have included King David in concert, the national tour of On The Record, several touring versions of Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, and the premiere stage adaptation of Aladdin at 5th Avenue Theatre. The breakout new American musical Newsies, which premiered at Paper Mill Playhouse, is now playing a limited engagement on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre. Peter and the Starcatcher, which set box office records at its 2011 New York Theatre Workshop run, will open at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April.

Disney Theatrical Group also delivers live shows globally through its license to Feld Entertainment, producer of Disney on Ice and Disney Live! For over 30 years, Disney on Ice and Disney Live! have brought beloved Disney stories and characters annually to over 12 million guests in nearly 50 countries worldwide through productions such as Toy Story 3, Dare to Dream, Treasure Trove, Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show and Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever! In addition, DTG licenses musical titles for local, school and community theatre productions through Music Theatre International. 

Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selections of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.

MTI is particularly dedicated to the idea of theatre as education and has created special collections for younger performers. The MTI Broadway Junior Collection® includes “JR.” titles, 60-minute musicals for performance by middle school children; and “KIDS” titles, 30-minute musicals for performance by elementary school children. MTI School Editions™ are musicals that have been annotated for performance by high school students, and the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Collection are 70-minute musicals designed for adults to perform for children.

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