Archived Grant Applications

Commonwealth Theatre Center, Inc.

1123 Payne Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40204
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Alison Huff

Contact Person if not President or Executive Director

Margaret Phillips

Grants Manager

Grant Request ($ Amount)


Project Title

Financial Aid Support for Youth Theatre Education at Commonwealth Theatre Center

Project Begin Date


Project End Date



Alison Huff





1. Describe the proposal in a detailed narrative of services and benefits it will provide in improving standards of living and opportunities, meeting social purposes or responding to needs.

REQUEST SUMMARY: Commonwealth Theatre Center (CTC) respectfully requests a grant award of $10,000 from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation to provide critical support for at-risk youth wishing to enroll in our rapidly expanding Walden Theatre Conservatory. Your generosity will remove barriers to arts access for approximately 25-50 socioeconomically disadvantaged youth by providing much-needed tuition assistance during a project period of August 1, 2020-July 31, 2021.

The valuable support of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation will open the doors to in-depth theatre education programming where students engage in learning acting, directing, playwriting, stagecraft, stage combat, dance, movement, and voice, and are involved in CTC’s highly regarded season of plays. Each class is infused with 21st century skills that further develop artistic abilities and artistic literacy: Communication (including public speaking skills), collaboration, creativity, initiative, and problem-solving. These 21st century skills also align with sought-after skills in the workforce. This is significant because not all Conservatory students pursue a career in theatre. Conservatory alumni enjoy a variety of careers, including as physicians, attorneys, educators, and more.

The Conservatory is far more than theatre training, it's a refuge for young people looking for a place to grow, learn, and fit in, including those learning English, on the Autism spectrum, with learning differences, and more. Its accessibility and longitudinal structure give young people the space for moments of self-discovery and artistry while learning empathy. Your support will enhance arts accessibility for youth who cannot afford an arts education on their own. It will also be critical in leveraging other community support for the Conservatory’s need-based financial aid program, which currently serves 25% of the Conservatory’s student body.

Phillip Stockdale, the father of a recent Conservatory graduate (May 2019) with Autism Spectrum Disorder, shared his appreciation of CTC’s work with his son. He said that CTC’s staff “understood his [son’s] challenges and have helped him grow not only as an actor, but as a young man. Despite his challenges, you held him accountable, evaluated him fairly, and made him earn every role. You have given him a sense of belonging that we always hoped he would have. He has forged genuine friendships here and has learned lessons that he will carry with him the rest of his life. He has become confident, and has improved his social skills, reading, and writing skills … But most importantly, he is happier.” The young man, now enrolled in college to continue studying theatre, remains engaged with CTC as an alumnus, including recently auditioning for a role in CTC’s spring 2020 Professional Company production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. (Please find attached Phillip Stockdale’s letter to CTC.)

ABOUT COMMONWEALTH THEATRE CENTER: CTC develops youth and our community through excellence in comprehensive theatre education and performance. Last year, CTC served 55,435 youth (PreK-12) and adults across 74 zip codes regionally in 267 schools and community centers. CTC offers many youth and families their first theatre experiences, building generations engaged in the arts who know the value that theatre brings to all facets of the community.

CTC’s Conservatory program has engaged thousands of young people and the community since 1976 with classes in acting, directing, playwriting, stagecraft, stage combat, dance, movement, and voice as well as with CTC’s highly regarded season of plays. With 100% of each class dedicated to "student-doing" (playing, participating & rehearsing), students engage in learning the following 21st century skills that further develop artistic abilities and artistic literacy: Communication, collaboration, creativity, initiative, and problem-solving. Using its proven assessment model, CTC evaluates students' progress throughout each semester.

The Conservatory’s classes and student performances (after-school/summer):
o Reach & sustain 600+ individual students each year, with many students involved for multiple years (95%+ retention rate among high school age students)
o Provide in-depth, year-round education opportunities with no audition required
o Offer a high quality, comprehensive curriculum with a broad range of literary content, styles, and techniques, leading national standards for theatre education
o Offer Shakespeare education programs that are the most comprehensive & recognized in the nation, culminating each year in the Young American Shakespeare Festival—the oldest and largest for youth in the nation. In May 2017, CTC became the first youth theatre in the world to complete Shakespeare’s canon (38 plays, many of which CTC produced multiple times during the 41-year period)! CTC was honored to receive an official proclamation from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
o Provide meaningful opportunities to DO theatre (not just watch!), including 150+ public performances annually by youth and alumni, second only to Actors Theatre of Louisville among all our city’s performing arts organizations
o Prepare students for acceptance into the most competitive college theatre programs as well as for non-theatre college/careers. CTC’s alumni are working actors, producers, playwrights, and more across the U.S., creating significant impact on American theatre.

For 44 years, CTC’s Outreach educational theatre programs have reflected the power of theatre to engage students of all ages and backgrounds in building artistic, academic, and social skills. In addition to educational touring productions in schools and community centers (engaging more than 37,000 youth & families annually), Outreach provides extracurricular programs in the summer, after school, and in-school programs that range from interactive workshops to multi-year residencies serving an entire school. These programs annually engage more than 5,000 students & teachers. Outreach workshops and residencies lead engaging education opportunities for youth most at-risk, provide cross-curricular programs in all core content areas, address issues such as bullying, violence, health and wellness and other challenges using effective theatre-based communication tools, ignite learning in the early years (Pre-K to K) through a range of innovative early childhood programs created and tested since 2002, and provide drama-based learning opportunities for teachers.

The Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation’s generous award in October 2018 leveraged new sources of funding supporting CTC’s overall organizational growth, including a new $225,000 grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in spring 2019. The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art is partially supporting the enhancement of CTC’s Connecting Cultures theatre education and performance project as a multifaceted, multigenerational instrument for sharing, understanding, and overcoming perceptions of difference—especially those affecting the Muslim community in and around Louisville. The 3-year project is currently engaging about 200 teens and adults in Louisville, including immigrant/refugee teens at Newcomer Academy (JCPS), teens from Nur Islamic School, LGBTQIA+ teens and young adults through the Louisville Youth Group, sight-impaired adult actors through Imagine Blind Players, and adults of Jewish faith through the Jewish Community Center. All are participating in-depth Connecting Cultures theatre education residencies to devise scenes and tell their stories in their own voices. The overall project is estimated to ultimately engage 21,000+ youth and adults across Greater Louisville, in rural areas of Kentucky and in Southern Indiana with a culminating touring musical production and a contemporary play performed by Conservatory students, inspired by the work created by participants in the Connecting Cultures residencies and scripted by commissioned playwright Denmo Ibrahim. (Please see the attached project description for more details about Connecting Cultures.)

CURRICULUM: With no audition required for students to participate in classes, the Conservatory’s annual fall and spring curriculum includes beginner classes, such as Imagination for ages 5-7 and Improv for ages 8-12. Intermediate classes for students ages 10-16 include Studio, Apprentice, and Playmaking I, while “advanced” classes for ages 15-18 include Playmaking II, Performance I & II, and Stagecraft. For older students interested in additional skills-building, the Conservatory offers a Playwriting class for ages 13-18, and a Master Skills class for ages 17-18. Summer offerings range from pre-K camps to Shakespeare Intensive for ages 14-18. At the conclusion of each semester, students participate in showcase performances that allow them to demonstrate their new skills on stage in front of a live audience. Beginning in middle school, Conservatory students also demonstrate the skills they learn during each semester by performing in a wide range of plays with more public performances than any other local performing arts group except Actors Theatre of Louisville. (For a full description of Conservatory programs, please review the attached brochure for more details about these immersive, hands-on classes.)

With 100% of each session dedicated to "student-doing" (playing, participating & rehearsing), students engage in learning the following 21st century skills that further develop artistic abilities and artistic literacy: Communication, collaboration, creativity, initiative, and problem-solving. The Conservatory’s five-year curriculum plan for its rotational classes ensures that students are always challenged with new and different material, especially if they are repeating the same class level. The curriculum plan includes the study of theatrical styles and playwrights. Instructors are encouraged to discuss women and minority voices, and to include plays and performances that they are passionate about in their lessons. During Fiscal Year 2021, the rotational curriculum (excluding the spring semester’s Shakespeare study) encompasses the theme of “Raise the Stakes,” with the study of Melodrama, Vaudeville, Clown, Oscar Wilde, and George Bernard Shaw.

THE NEED: CTC is grateful for the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation’s generous grant award of $10,000 in October 2018 in support of our Conservatory. This valuable award contributed significantly toward our ability to serve 613 unduplicated youth with 948 learning experiences last year, including at least 30% of Conservatory students who are estimated to have special needs ranging from Autism Spectrum Disorder, to emotional and/or intellectual disabilities, to physical disabilities. The Conservatory’s learning experiences are not just “one off” engagements; typical student engagement ranges from 26 hours per year (for a beginning student with only 1 semester) to 500 hours per year (for an advanced student with participation in multiple performances and at least 1 summer camp). Conservatory students, alumni, and Artist Educators engaged 11,262 audience members with 155 public performances last year, our highest ever attendance!

The Conservatory’s high enrollment (estimated at 620+ unduplicated students next year) results in “good problems” of sold-out classes, camps and performances. In fact, our summer camps are already nearly sold out despite being publicly announced a few short weeks ago. With such programs as Connecting Cultures anticipated to create a pipeline of new Conservatory students hailing from sites that include Newcomer Academy (immigrant/refugee teens) and Nur Islamic School, CTC estimates that the Conservatory program will reach even higher enrollment in the next year.

To ensure arts access for youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds, CTC budgeted $43,000 in its operating budget in Fiscal Year 2020 to help meet every request for need-based Walden Theatre Conservatory scholarships with some level of support. However, CTC anticipates awarding at least $50,000 by the end of this fiscal year due to increased demand. Reasons range from new students inspired to enroll in the Conservatory after experiencing CTC’s Outreach programming in their Title 1 schools, to students who have participated in the Conservatory for multiple years and never requested assistance, but whose families are experiencing financial struggles or have difficulty affording the higher tuition that comes with advanced classes. As a contrast, CTC received financial aid requests in Fiscal Year 2016 totaling just $23,000.

While CTC never wants affordability to be a barrier to access, our organization may not be able to keep up with the need without the valuable support of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation and other community stakeholders. Approximately 25-50 students who otherwise might not be able to enroll in the Conservatory’s fall 2020 semester, spring 2021 semester, or summer 2021 camps will benefit from an award from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation that will provide partial assistance ranging from $200-$400, depending on need, in need-based tuition support. As with all Conservatory students applying for tuition support, each student’s financial need will be determined through a confidential application process and evaluated by CTC on a case-by-case basis. For those Conservatory applicants requiring more assistance, CTC will match the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation’s funding to ensure participation for each student wishing to enroll.

2. Attach your Project Budget.


3. Provide a narrative that clearly defines how Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation funds will be used and accounted for in relation to the Narrative above. Provide the start dates and timelines for tasks.

CTC considers its ability to provide tuition assistance to Conservatory students experiencing financial need one of its most important resources. By increasing access to valuable arts education for Greater Louisville’s youth, including at-risk children, children from diverse backgrounds and heritages, children with learning differences, and more, CTC helps to eliminate barriers, including perceptions that the arts aren't for everyone. This results in creative approaches to social change through enhanced social development, academic skill-building and ongoing engagement in the arts for youth and their families.

CTC anticipates that a generous award of $10,000 from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation will partially support the arts education of approximately 25-50 students with an award range of $200-$400 per student, depending on the Conservatory class, during the fall 2020 semester, spring 2021 semester, and summer 2021 camps.

TIMELINE: During the 12-month project period beginning August 1, 2020, the Conservatory will engage an estimated 620+ youth ages 5-18 from nearly all zip codes in Greater Louisville, including immigrant/refugee students from Newcomer Academy and students from Nur Islamic School newly enrolled in the Conservatory. The generosity of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation will help CTC to accomplish the following during the project period:

SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2020: During this timeframe, the 13-week fall semester takes place for Conservatory students at CTC (approximately 250+ students). Depending on the class level, instruction takes place once or twice a week for up to two hours after school and/or on Saturdays. For intermediate and advanced students, the time commitment includes rehearsals and performances in CTC’s season of plays, with the extra time occurring in the evenings and on weekends. An estimated 25% of students receive some form of financial assistance.

JANUARY-MAY 2021: The 13-week spring semester takes place during this time period. Time commitments, enrollment, and financial assistance need are the same as in the fall semester.

JUNE-EARLY AUGUST 2021: Summer camps ranging from one week to three-week intensives for a total of 300 youth ages 4-18 take place at CTC. Approximately 25% receive financial assistance.

At the end of July 2021, CTC will evaluate the project and submit a final report to Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, including qualitative and quantitative data illustrating outcomes from the year. PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO PRIVACY CONCERNS, CTC will not be able to reveal the names of students receiving financial assistance, but CTC is happy to share outcomes.


4. Describe your agency’s service area with regard to population, cultural, racial and ethnic makeup.

In Greater Louisville, while most of its 1.3 million population is white (79%), Louisville Metro’s foreign-born population is 7.2% and growing rapidly, doubling nearly every decade since 1990. At a 42% total growth rate from 2009-14, Louisville’s foreign-born population has outpaced every other large city in the U. S. In fact, Louisville’s population would have shrunk if not for its foreign-born population (Louisville Office of Globalization). Louisville’s Muslim population is also growing, estimated at approximately 10,000 (“Muslims in Louisville,” Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D). The median annual household income, representing our primary audience funding base, is $57,405 (ACS 2018 1-Yr Survey).

Within local public schools, CTC is part of the solution that is meeting the enormous need of 64 Title I (at-risk) schools in the Jefferson County Public Schools district. At least 63% of JCPS students cannot afford a school lunch, only 29% are proficient in reading, 26% are proficient in math, and 32% in writing. While the economic value of the arts is recognized by most leaders, there is less awareness of the value of youth arts to education. In 2005, half of arts positions were cut from local public schools, and to date, schools still struggle with this loss. Emphasis on testing, the impact of SB1, lack of program review accountability & cuts in KY's education budget further diminish arts education. In response, CTC’s Outreach offered accessible, drama-based programming in schools and community centers in 74 zip codes across Greater Louisville and Kentucky last year.

CTC’s Conservatory program students have included African American, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Latinx, Native American, Croatian, Brazilian, British as well as families facing significant challenges. These include children of single parents facing job losses and high medical bills and many students living with grandparents. Among students, you find cheerleaders, athletes, those with disabilities, and transgender youth. We take pride in our culture that embraces this diverse group and brings out their best qualities. Through financial aid provision, the Conservatory increases access to valuable arts education for our city's youth, including at-risk children. Barriers are eliminated, including perceptions that the arts aren't for everyone, resulting in creative approaches to social change through enhanced social development, academic skill-building and ongoing engagement in the arts for youth and their families. CTC knows from decades of research that theatre provides unique and powerful opportunities for youth to develop creative and personal skills needed for healthy, productive lives.

All of CTC’s student and professional productions feature diverse actors telling the stories of diverse populations, including CTC’s upcoming spring 2020 professional production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. Set in 1965, the year after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, Stella and Stanley are in a mixed marriage and live in a predominantly black neighborhood in the French Quarter of New Orleans. When Blanche Dubois, a former debutant and plantation owner arrives to visit her sister, she is surprised and dismayed by both the marriage and the surroundings. With this production, CTC will explore ideas about dehumanization, gentrification, white privilege, and the changing racial landscape of America in 2020. CTC will also present a panel discussion featuring diverse community leaders to draw historical parallels to contemporary marginalization and racial issues. In 2021 and 2022, CTC’s Connecting Cultures project will culminate with 2 new scripts by nationally renowned playwright Denmo Ibrahim. The first play, AMINA DREAMS IN THE SAHARA (working title), will be a touring musical engaging 20,000+ youth & families in rural and urban areas of Kentucky and Southern Indiana in fall 2021, and the second will be an as-yet unnamed contemporary play for mature audiences performed by Conservatory students, engaging 1,000+ youth and adults in spring 2022 (and submitted to Actors Theatre’s Humana Festival of New American Plays).

5. Indicate total number of paid staff and total number of volunteers.

CTC has 90 paid staff (18 full-time, 2 part-time, 70 contract) and annually engages 450 volunteers.

6. List the goals and objectives of your agency.

The mission of Commonwealth Theatre Center is developing youth and our community through excellence in comprehensive theatre education and performance. The Conservatory’s mission is nurturing artistically-minded youth with professional theatre training and performance opportunities, and promoting a spirit of lifelong learning in the performing arts.

CTC’s strategic plan is driven by 4 major Board-approved priorities: Artistic Vision, Branding/Institutional Marketing, Capacity and Fund Development, and Culture/Governance. Under Artistic Vision, the Conservatory’s goals include lifelong learning, including tech classes as part of Conservatory student learning, studying the impact of arts education through our assessment tool, and determining new opportunities for earned income. Outreach’s goals under Artistic Vision include reviving “best of” Blue Apple musical touring productions and creating new scripts for musical touring productions, create and pilot new Resiliency residency program, and revising program evaluation tools. Under Branding/Institutional Marketing, goals include raising awareness of CTC and program offerings in the community by developing new messaging strategy through message mapping. Under Capacity and Fund Development, goals include building fundraising capacity to the level needed to sustainably support size/scope of CTC and its programs. Under Culture/Governance, goals include continuing to establish integrated systems for optimal execution of administration and programming, support systems (i.e. IT, staffing), and establishing processes to evaluate and tweak over time; cultivating relationships at all levels of programming and administration (stakeholders), and creating opportunities for engagement, especially social in nature, and increasing diversity at all levels of the organization.


7. Describe why this project is needed and how it implements the purpose of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation.

In order to continue the expansion of the Conservatory program while still offering a strong financial aid program helping hundreds of families of Conservatory students to manage the costs of an arts education, CTC places a high priority on raising funds to support these scholarships. CTC budgeted $43,000 in its operating budget this year to help meet every request for need-based scholarships with some level of support. However, with ongoing growth in the Conservatory, CTC must seek assistance from community supporters in order to increase its ability to offer financial aid to students in need, including support for budgeting for at least $50,000 in financial aid to meet students' need in Fiscal Year 2021.

Through the Conservatory’s year-round theatre education, including summer camps, our program contributes to our city’s overall quality of life. It provides meaningful education opportunities to students of all ages and backgrounds, introducing new generations to arts education. Our program supports a more inclusive and diverse city by championing cultural equity to break down barriers to arts access for youth and families living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods, such as immigrant/refugee students attending Newcomer Academy. It improves social equity and cultural vitality across our city by increasing arts education opportunities for students of all backgrounds to engage in theatre together, such as through Connecting Cultures programming.

CTC’s long-term engagement with youth from all backgrounds in drama-based education will increase diversity and inclusion in subsequent generations of theatre artists. This ignites and effects real and lasting change to broaden diversity and inclusion in the arts while providing youth with important life skills that will carry them into the future. The National Education Association's report, “Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Economy,” notes that if today's students want to compete in this global society, they must be proficient communicators, creators, critical thinkers, and collaborators--all skills taught in every level of the Conservatory's programming.

Although students with an arts-rich education outperform by every measure those without these opportunities, students involved in theatre show stronger gains in reading & writing, problem solving, and higher levels of empathy and tolerance for others. Theatre and music students also have higher SAT scores in both verbal and math sections. (College Board, Catterall, UCLA, others). Tom Huston Orr, Director of the University of Oklahoma’s School of Drama, recently shared with CTC that he values “the education your [Conservatory] students receive because it yields a seamless transition to a University program in which they continue to develop as artists and professionals.”

Recent community feedback about the strength of the Conservatory program includes a message CTC received from a local high school English teacher: “I had the privilege of meeting and reading [Student A] for our [A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM] auditions tonight. I was floored by her audition … and thrilled to learn she’s only a freshman. How does a performer her age possess such a keen understanding of being the motor of a scene? Few are the young actors that I’ve worked with who can drive text forward like [Student A]. In her preparation and on-the-spot cold readings, she gets it … one thing is clear: she is formidable. You her teachers would have been proud … Though I am of course grateful for who you are to young performers, I’m especially glad whenever I learn that our own students benefit from role models like you … As emerging artists and aspiring young women, it drives them forward.”

With the support of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, CTC will be positioned to engage even more youth from Louisville’s disadvantaged neighborhoods with an intensive, arts-rich education, including immigrant/refugee teens from Newcomer Academy and teens from Nur Islamic School, nearly all of whom are new to theatre.

8. How did you identify the need that is addressed by the proposed project?

The affordability of CTC’s year-round experiences is reflected by the high demand (and reflecting the need) for CTC’s drama-based programming in 18 counties last year, including Greater Louisville and across Kentucky. Keeping our experiences affordable for all community members involves engagement of our staff, Board, students, educators, parents, and donors, and considers a range of artistic, educational, and economic information. Accessibility for youth and families is important to CTC, including promoting the belief that the arts are for everyone.

9. Does any other organization in your community serve this need?

Very few theatres offer a Conservatory, Touring (professional), and Outreach program on the nationally recognized level of CTC. Last year, CTC’s pre-professional training experiences included 948 hands-on, active learning experiences for 613 Conservatory students as well as audition opportunities for graduating students to attend top theatre post-secondary schools. Developing the talents of Conservatory students and holding them to the highest standards of professionalism and artistic integrity yields outstanding productions that rival professional work.

10. If so, what distinguishes your agency’s services from others?

Setting CTC apart from other theatre education programs is its provision of the only year-round Conservatory program in Kentucky and one of the top programs in the U.S., based upon national student placement in premier college theatre programs in the U.S. and Europe. "Competitors" are audition-based boarding schools in Michigan, Florida, South Carolina and California. Also setting our Conservatory apart is that its learning experiences are not just “one off” engagements; typical student engagement ranges from 26 hours per year (for a beginning student with only 1 semester) to 500 hours per year (for an advanced student with participation in multiple performances and at least 1 summer camp). The Conservatory further provides more quality opportunities to "do theatre," not just watch, for more area youth of every ability and age than any other arts group in the region. CTC’s Conservatory students are regularly selected by top college theatre programs in U.S. and Europe, consistently ranking in the "Top 4" at national college auditions with placement at DePaul, Juilliard, Carnegie Mellon, Royal Scottish Academy, and other top programs. The Conservatory’s high-quality training has resulted in hundreds of arts professionals working locally, regionally, and nationally—on stage, on camera, and behind the scenes—making a significant impact on our thriving American theatre landscape.

Cultivating a culture of learning at all levels, CTC fosters creativity & innovation in a collaborative environment and models best practices of organizational management. CTC is involved in some capacity with many local arts groups through joint programs (Louisville Visual Art), shared staff (Kentucky Shakespeare), and other connections (Actors Theatre of Louisville partnership for Connecting Cultures). CTC’s artistic staff regularly participate in professional development and training that allows CTC to stay at the forefront of theatre education, such as Artistic Associate Jen Pennington’s membership to VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association). Staff culture includes community engagement to increase knowledge, skills, experience, networking, and more, raising the level of exposure of CTC. Locally, staff involvement includes Fund for the Arts endeavors, ACA (Arts & Culture Alliance), Cultural Consortium, Cultural Pass planning with Louisville Free Public Library, participation as professional actors in Kentucky Shakespeare’s annual Festival in the Park, and more. Conservatory leadership teach at Governor’s School for the Arts, and nationally some CTC artists are regular guest teaching artists in other top theatre training programs. CTC is a longtime member of Theatre Communications Group and Americans for the Arts.


11. Describe how you will measure outcomes of this proposal.

CTC’s artistic instructors carefully evaluate students' progress in learning the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, initiative, and problem-solving, leading to artistic literacy & skills, throughout each semester with our proven assessment model. (Please see the attached examples of assessment rubrics.) In 2018, CTC collected 5 years of in-house assessment data on its Conservatory students ages 5 to 18. This system has provided CTC with a wealth of qualitative data detailing student success, as well as coveted quantitative data, allowing CTC to track student growth over time and show the benefits of sustained involvement in the arts. In this 5-year study, students who attended 4 or more semesters demonstrated 27% growth on average, and students who attended every semester since the fall of 2013 showed 44% growth, on average. These overall results mirror national research that demonstrates that drama-based activities encourage children to listen actively and analytically, improve verbal skills, increase imagination and visualization skills, boost comprehension and retention skills and other language skills vital to literacy.

CTC was honored to be invited to present its findings at 3 national conferences in summer 2018. Our assessments are currently undergoing deeper study at George Mason University for further insight into long-term program results and developmental significance of theatre education in the lives of youth. Dr. Thalia Goldstein, Assistant Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology at George Mason University and part of the team currently studying our assessments, will have updated data sets from Conservatory assessments to analyze by mid-May 2020. Dr. Goldstein and her team plan to spend summer 2020 analyzing and working with the data, including presenting about our assessments in August at the American Psychology Association’s Division on Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Dr. Goldstein recently shared that she anticipates results that will be widely shareable and ready to write up for peer-reviewed national scientific publication between September and December 2020. We are excited to share updates as they become available!

12. After the grant funds are expended, describe how you will assure continuation of grant-funded services or equipment maintenance.

CTC is very careful in its management of financial resources and takes seriously the stewardship of community investments. Based on 44 years of experience, we expect costs to be in keeping with those proposed. We anticipate that evaluation outcomes, continued work with partners, and attendance at the Conservatory’s season of productions by community members, including members of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, will help to broaden the base of support.

We anticipate continuation of our 44-year-old Conservatory not only due to ongoing success and community support generated by our programs, but because we estimate that our current three-year campaign with a 2020 goal of raising a total of $1.85 million will build our organizational capacity (such as with our newly hired Development Manager position and bringing our Grants Manager to full-time in FY18), resulting in ongoing sustainability. Further, we are honored to receive funds from diverse resources to assist in capacity-building organizationally and within the Conservatory, including the Community Foundation of Louisville, Kosair Charities Advisory Council, Kentucky Colonels, the Norton Foundation, and others.

The Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation’s support will have long-lasting impact, including allowing us to reach our mission-aligned, strategic goal to provide our Conservatory programs to youth across Louisville, no matter their socioeconomic background. This investment in CTC's future of providing Conservatory programming to our community's children, including underserved youth who would not otherwise be able to participate, is also crucial to our lean operating budget.

Beyond the important direct benefits that we see from our learning programs for students, their families and teachers, our drama-based programming ultimately benefits the entire community. An example is the in-depth learning opportunities provided to Conservatory students, such as the study of Shakespeare that occurs across the Conservatory curriculum every spring. Starting at the Studio level (ages 10 and up), students are introduced to Shakespeare by acting in a scene from one of his more magical plays. The Apprentice class (ages 13 and up) works as an ensemble to present an hour-long version of a Shakespearean comedy, history, or tragedy, and advanced students (ages 15-18) study Renaissance theatre and Shakespearean acting techniques.

CTC is committed to the value of theatre for youth development, as evidenced by feedback from top-level college theatre programs. “We count ourselves lucky at NIU when we can entice one of these gifted young artists to join our acting program,” says Stanton Davis, Head of BFA Performance at Northern Illinois University, “They especially have a foot up on most of our recruits when it comes to classical theatre. Walden is unique in its ability to train young people in complex text and period styles.”

CTC will leverage any support received from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation to secure additional funding from our community's stakeholders for our financial assistance program. Your generosity will allow CTC to maximize its potential to provide its unique, outcomes-based theatre programs to students in need in the midst of diminished access to art. Thank you for your review of our proposal!


13. Attach your AGENCY BUDGET showing all financial resources.


14. What fees or charges are made by the organization for its services?

The Conservatory’s in-depth programs lead national standards for theatre education and provide a high quality, comprehensive curriculum with a broad range of literary content, styles and techniques. CTC budgeted approximately $43,000 this year to provide financial assistance to students whose families cannot afford arts education expenses. Despite the increase in allocation in our annual operating budget from $36,000 last year, we project awarding close to $50,000 by the end of this fiscal year. Based on the financial assistance awards that are made each year, CTC estimates that approximately 25% of its Conservatory students are low-income. With the support of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, approximately 25-50 low-income students will receive much-needed partial tuition support for an in-depth theatre course.

During the Conservatory’s 13-week semesters and 1-3 week summer camps, course offerings include:

o IMAGINATION (ages 5-7) $350/student: On Saturday mornings or Monday afternoons after school, beginning students work with one another and their instructor to conceive and perform an original play.
o IMPROV (ages 8-12) $445/student: On Saturday mornings or Monday afternoons after school at Payne Street, students will explore the "actor's toolkit" of voice, body, imagination, and courage through fun games and exercises that strengthen active listening, teamwork, and concentration skills.
o STUDIO (ages 10-14) $635/student: On Wednesday and Friday afternoons after school, students discover 20th century classics and the magic of Shakespeare while studying how to bring a playwright's words to life. Fall semester showcases feature scenes by American playwrights while spring semester showcases feature abridged versions of Shakespeare's plays.
o APPRENTICE (ages 12-14) $695/student: On Wednesday and Friday afternoons after school, students study the imaginative techniques of America's greatest acting teachers. In the fall, students study these techniques alongside 10-minute plays culled from the Conservatory's previous Young Playwrights Festival. In the spring, students tackle multiple roles in an ensemble performance of a selected popular Shakespeare play.
o PLAYMAKING I (ages 14-16) $750/student: On Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons after school, this foundational theatre class gives students an appreciation for all aspects of the art form while preparing them for success at the advanced level and beyond.
o PLAYMAKING II (ages 15-18) $800/student: On Tue/Thurs afternoons after school, students with a love of creating plays sharpen their storytelling skills through this advanced class covering improvisation, physical theatre, playwriting and devising, special projects, and scene study, where students can choose to work on their directing or acting skills.
o PERFORMANCE I & II (ages 15-18) $800/student: On Tue/Thurs afternoons after school, advanced students engage in rigorous training to further develop their stage presence.
o PLAYWRITING (ages 13-18) No fee for students enrolled in Advanced classes": In the fall semester only, this Monday after school class is offered for students interested in submitting plays for the annual Young Playwrights Festival.
o MASTER SKILLS (ages 17-18) No fee for students enrolled in Advanced classes: In the fall semester only, this Saturday class is for advanced students preparing for post-secondary auditions.
o IMAGINATION JUNIOR ACADEMY (ages 5-7) $375/student: Kids bring characters and a story to life through a series of fun theatre-based exercises that ignite a child’s creativity and give them the skills and confidence to perform a song-filled play.
o FINE ART CAMPS (ages 5-12) $175/student: Hands-on art program with daily original projects created using variety of materials and techniques.
o PRESCHOOL CAMPS (ages 3-4 & 4-5): $200/student: Introduction to theatre through the process drama model.
o SUMMER ACADEMY (ages 8-13) $550/student: Novice and experienced younger actors work together to rehearse and perform a lively, fully produced play for public audiences in a fun, energetic learning environment.
o SHAKESPEARE INTENSIVE (ages 13-18) $550/student: Experienced actors immerse themselves in the performances, language, and history of Shakespeare while preparing to audition confidently for CTC’s acclaimed Young American Shakespeare Festival.
o CONTEMPORARY ACTING INTENSIVE (ages 13-18) $550 for all three weeks: Deepens familiarity with and sharpens technique in acting, voice, movement, and scene analysis, taught by CTC alumni.
o AUDITION SKILLS (ages 9-17) $175: Prepares students for auditioning for a play or for anyone with an upcoming audition.
o SCENE AND SONG STUDY (ages 9-17) $175: Explores disciplines of acting, singing, and dancing in musical theatre.

Other fees include:
STUDENT MATINEES: $7/student (average audience is grades 3-12): Student matinee performances change from year to year and are based on the Conservatory’s season of performances. At least 75% of student matinees are underwritten by grants, allowing students to attend performances at CTC’s Payne Street theatre at little to no cost to the schools.

OUTREACH: Workshop pricing ranges from $125-$250/hr; residency pricing ranges from $600-$3,000 per program. CTC estimates that approximately 75% of its outreach programming (in-school workshops & residencies) is subsidized by grant funding and individual donations, allowing CTC to provide programming to more than half of JCPS’s Title 1 schools at little or no cost to the schools.

OUTREACH PROFESSIONAL TOURING PRODUCTIONS: Fall musical performances are $1,600/performance (grades PreK-5) with no student attendance limits per performance, and spring touring performances (non-musical) are $500 for up to 250 students per performance. These educational, professionally acted performances change from year to year. At least 75% of CTC’s touring performances in schools are underwritten by grants, allowing schools to receive performances at little to no cost to them.

For more information, please see the attached Walden Theatre Conservatory, Blue Apple Outreach, and 2019-20 Season brochures.

15. What percent of the organization’s budget is used for fund-raising?

9.5% of CTC's budget is used for fundraising.

16. What percent of the organization’s budget is used for administrative costs?

11% of CTC's budget is used for administrative costs.

17. If applicant has received prior grants from the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation, provide dates, amounts, purposes and outcomes.

10/2018: $10,000: This award allowed us to provide partial financial aid to 25 at-risk students who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to attend the Conservatory, helping them to engage in 13-week semesters of educational theatre programs ranging from introductory to advanced learning opportunities and performances.

11/2015: $5,450 (to Walden Theatre/Blue Apple Players): This award allowed us the unique opportunity to plan and pilot a two-session professional development program to improve the teaching skills of arts educators from various Louisville arts organizations who work with PreK-Kindergarten ages. This valuable support also leveraged a grant award of $5,000 from the Sutherland Foundation.

11/2006: $15,000 (to Blue Apple Players) to research and create a curriculum to reduce bullying behavior. This continues as one of our most requested programs in schools.

11/2002: $10,000 (to Blue Apple Players) for part of the costs of a van for Outreach education programs. (The grant decision arrived just as we heard that our previous vehicle had blown a transmission in eastern Kentucky). We continue to use 2 vans to take drama-based education programs directly into high risk schools and community centers – broadening access to all students in a school, reducing participation barriers, reducing out of school time and travel costs, and improving young lives.

18. Attach your IRS 501(c)(3) tax designation letter.


19. Attach your 990 or 990-PF federal tax return.


20. Attach any additional documents you wish to include with this application.


Entry ID405

Entry DateMarch 1, 2020