The Stella Adler Studio of Acting is excited to announce that it is the recipient of a prestigious 21st Century Community Learning Center grant through the U.S. Department of Education, which will allow the studio to create an acting school experience in seven low-income Bronx middle schools. The program will be implemented for three years, beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. Over 900 students will participate in 24 weeks of coursework, which will include ensemble, voice and speech, movement and improvisation lessons.

“The 21st Century Community Learning Center grant is a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to bring free actor training to young people who wouldn’t have thought to come to us as they do in our after-school program,” said Tom Oppenheim, the artistic director of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. “The middle schools we’re going to serve are bereft of arts programs but filled with young people who are as imaginative, intelligent and deserving as youth in more affluent school districts.”

The Stella Adler Studio of Acting has established well-received after-school courses, but what makes the grant-sponsored classes special is that they are integrated into the school day, which allows for more meaningful interaction with students. The studio works with the schools’ principals and teachers as active partners to develop coursework. Acting training is inspired by the students’ curriculums so that the drama coursework will flow from and enhance daily lesson plans. For example, if students are studying the American Revolution, they may improvise a scene by taking on the roles of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center grant is a federally-funded program created with the goal of bringing organizations with expertise in a specific subject directly to students in order to effect positive change in schools and positively enrich students. This program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

The following Bronx middle schools will be participating in the Stella Adler Studio of Acting program: