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Innovation Program Report


“If you put arts into our schools, you have better bankers, better lawyers, and better human beings.”-Kenny Leon

 Arts Education Partnership report

Creative Conversations: Arts Education Innovation

November 2014, we  convened leading practitioners, thought leaders and philanthropists in theatre education to discuss the Arts Education Partnership final report on the Impact Creativity Innovation Program, a collection of nineteen highly innovative education projects, one each at our  theatres, supported in part by The Hearst Foundations, Wells Fargo and others.  Ranging from the award-winning Project Discovery program at Dallas Theater Center to Ed Labs, teacher training at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, to special programs for children on the autism spectrum at Trinity Rep in Providence and The Old Globe in San Diego, these programs illustrate the creative ways educators and artists are working together to make theatre education a key tool in a wide variety of engagement programs.

We are pleased to provide a copy of the Arts Education Partnership report on our programs here and  video clips of the discussion held that day among Sandra Ruppert from the Partnership, Tony Award-winning Broadway director Kenny Leon,  and Theatre Forward Chairman and former Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, James Turley.  Together, the report and the discussion provide powerful, inspiring insights into theatre education and its crucial role in building better students, citizens and communities.


Quotes From Creative Conversations: Arts Education Innovation

“The Common Core is important–of course students need to know how to compute and to read and to write. But as Condoleezza Rice said, a life of accomplishment is much more than that, and that’s from a person who is not only an ice dancer, but also a classical pianist.”

“In high school, it’s a little over half of high schools that offer theatre programs in their schools. The numbers are much worse for high poverty schools, despite the fact that we know that for our lowest income students, the students who can benefit the most, actually receive the least….So, theatre education is a symptom of this larger opportunity gap, but it’s also part of the solution, and that’s what Impact Creativity initiative is all about.”

“I look at business and industry as some of our greatest allies in making the case for a complete and competitive education that includes the arts”

  • Sandra Ruppert, Director, Arts Education Partnership

“I look back on my life, the thousands and thousands of people my former firm hired, all the clients that I used to visit with, all the people they hired,….you want people to embrace the values of the organization, but you need people to have a sense of confidence, a sense of creativity, to have a real sense of being part of something, interacting with other people, listening to other people…really connecting on teams.  The teams that the workers of tomorrow will be part of will be more diverse around every dimension you can think about…Scary truth is really diverse teams tend not to perform in the middle of the pack. They are either off the charts great, or they are horrible.  It comes down to the culture that’s built within the team.  What theatre does, what arts education does, helps these people work, helps these teams work in the future.”

“We can all do our part, and I encourage all people, corporate people, philanthropies foundations, you name it to support this because it is so vital….On a long term basis, this is an offensive play, to actually increase the number of great citizens in our country, the numbers of great workers for companies.  I also think about it on a long-term defensive level:  We have to have fewer Ferguson, Missouri’s.[…] Having young people engaged, able to bring their whole selves to what they do will help reduce that kind of tension over the long term.”

  • James S. Turley, Former Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young

“In my experience working in American theatre, those times when the political leadership in that community was great and understood the artistic component, and when the artistic leaders in the community understood that, and when the business and corporate leaders understood that, when all three of those things happen, great things happened in that community.”

“I want to give and serve to our young people so those kids that don’t have time to talk about their creativity in their lives, or don’t have ways to express what’s in their heart, or don’t have a chance to creatively figure things out, they have a hard time.  They feel like they are not being educated.”

“If you put arts into our schools, you have better bankers, better lawyers, and better human beings.”

  • Kenny Leon

 “Whatever change strategy you may be thinking of investing in, keep arts education and theater education in mind because we can truly make a difference.”


  • Bruce E. Whitacre, Executive Director, Theatre Forward