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RCLC given summer grant

Emily Schrank | Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A six-week intensive summer Shakespeare program for inner city youth will be funded by a grant given to the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) by Better World Books, a for-profit social venture founded by three Notre Dame graduates.

The Literacy and Education in Action Program (LEAP) grant totaled $10,000.

“These grants establish our brand promise — that with every book sold at Better World Books, we support literacy both here in the United States and around the world,” David Murphy, president and CEO of Better World Books, said. “We wanted to set a program for our major Non-Profit Literacy Partners (NPLP) that was highly targeted.”

Murphy said the RCLC had to provide detailed information about how it was going to spend the money and how it was going to track the progress toward its goals.

“Better World Books has a long history with the Robinson Center. It’s local to our warehouse — almost right in our backyard — and they do a lot of great work in the community,” Murphy said. “They were the first NPLP that we ever supported and they have a multitude of very good programs.”

Jennifer Knapp Beudert, manager of the RCLC, said the summer Shakespeare program will serve 20 to 25 children between the ages of 10 and 17.

“They will receive instruction in the essentials of theatre through a variety of workshops,” she said. “Students will spend the morning participating in these workshops and then rehearse for ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ which is the focal work of the whole program, in the afternoon.”

Knapp Beudert said the student ensemble would lead toduction of “Romeo and Juliet,” including the process of designing posters, set and costumes.

“Through this summer Shakespeare initiative, RCLC is addressing the need for a safe summer and after school environment for youth while recognizing the positive educational assets that are gained by theatre studies,” she said.

According to Knapp Beudert, the RCLC has also offered Shakespeare camps during the past two summers.

“With the award of this grant from Better World Books, we will now be able to offer summer Shakespeare for the third year in a row, so that the Robinson Shakespeare Company will remain active year-round,” she said.