News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Palo Alto Children’s Theatre Receives Prestigious NEA Grant
Contact : Cy Webb, Staff Specialist, Community Services Department    650-463-4935
Palo Alto, CA - The Palo Alto Children's Theatre proudly announces that it is a recipient of the prestigious National Endowment of the Arts "Big Read" grant. 

The Palo Alto Children’s Theatre is no stranger to this award, having been a recipient in 2009 and 2011. In the past, grant monies were used to stage Fahrenheit 451, showcase creative responses from students about the popular novel In the Time of the Butterflies, and host acclaimed author Julia Alvarez. Palo Alto schools, as well as Eastside College Preparatory, Leadership Schools, and public schools in San Francisco were enthusiastic participants.

According to the National Endowment of the Arts, the aim of the Big Read is to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. “The Big Read is a natural fit for us,” emphasized managing artistic director Judge Luckey, “as many of our productions are based on literary works.”

The 77 award recipients received a total of $1 million to host Big Read projects. The highly competitive application process recognizes artistic excellence and merit. In receiving this award, the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre demonstrated that it provides strong literary programming and builds local partnerships with educators, local and state officials, and the media for the benefit of young people. 

Grant manager Lane Pianta looks forward to a year in which the theatre explores Tobias Wolff’s novel Old School, with students throughout the greater Bay Area. “Old School is really about becoming yourself,” notes Pianta, “which opens up all kinds of possibilities for working with students. Since we’re a theatre, we provide avenues for expression that can be hard to find in your average English classroom.”

The Children’s Theatre will launch Big Read programming at the start of the 2013-2014 school year. Author Tobias Wolff has already agreed to participate.  Wolff is a winner of the PEN/Malamud Award, The Story Prize, the Rea Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.  He has been at Stanford since 1997 where he is the Ward W. and Priscilla B Woods Professor.