Los Angeles Drama Club: A Creative Home for Young Shakespearians to learn, create and grow

submission by LADC

About Your Organization

Organization name(s):

Los Angeles Drama Club

Organization website:

http://www.losangelesdramaclub.com

Organization Twitter handle:

www.twitter.com/ladramaclub

Organization Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/ladramaclub

Organization Instagram:

instagram.com/ladramaclub

Describe your organization (check only one):

Nonprofit organization

For-profit organization

Government

Individual

Please describe yourself (check only one):

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.

:

Our Shakespeare programs provide underserved children with the camaraderie of an arts community, while improving their literacy skills.

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

:

Art saves lives. The youth in our community need a safe space to create, play, and grow as young Shakespeare scholars and performers.

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.

:

The Country’s Youngest Shakespeare Troupe needs a permanent home to do their magic! #artsaveslives #ShakespeareInTheCity

Does your project impact Los Angeles County? Check only one.

Yes (benefits all of LA County)

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Yes (benefits a population of LA County)

No

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit? Check all that apply.

Central LA

East LA

South LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South Bay

Westside

Other:

What is your idea/project in more detail?

:

LADC runs a successful & rapidly growing free arts program for children & youth.  We intend to secure and upgrade a permanent venue to serve the immediate and growing demand for our arts & literacy programs, both after school and on weekends.  
With a permanent space we will increase the number of classes, rehearsals & workshops for kids (6-15)  in the Mid-City/West Adams/South LA area.
For 9 years, our programs & productions have increased literacy in our players, provided them with camaraderie & community, and inspired a love for Shakespeare & theatre. We need a safe space over which we have creative & physical control, to maintain the quality of our students’ learning experiences and to further expand the availability of our programs.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

:

We are determined to have our own space within the next three to five years, but this grant will allow us to make it happen in one year. We have already begun to move forward!

We are researching available space on West Adams, Washington, Venice, Jefferson, and Crenshaw, and have already targeted two possible properties. In addition, we have a working relationship with the City of LA and its relevant representatives on this matter.

We have a strong relationship with the West Adams and MidCity Neighborhood Councils and have built much support for this endeavor in District 10.

We will choose a building that will benefit the needs of LADC and the local community. Our location will be specifically chosen to cater to local schools and it will be centrally located in relationship to the communities we serve, establishing ideal proximity to our students and further simplifying, if not eliminating, transportation challenges.

We are establishing relationships with other artists and programs to whom we will rent space - benefiting our children, by giving them the opportunity to interact with working artists and professionals in the LA community, and the artists, who will have a safe and inspiring place to work.

We have secured volunteer professionals: IATSE LOCAL 33 trained stage technicians who will set up the performance space and help transform the space into a true “Arts Center” - free for the children of Los Angeles.

We will then hold an Opening Fundraiser in the New Space to bring awareness to our programs, to our mission, and to our communities. In future years, the space will host our star-studded Annual Gala Benefit (celebrities perform with our students as scene partners in excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays) again helping bring awareness to our organization and to the neighborhood.

HOW WILL YOUR IDEA/PROJECT HELP MAKE LA THE BEST PLACE TO LEARN TODAY? IN 2050?

:

We are the nation’s youngest Shakespeare Troupe and have had great success in creating a lens through which our players view Shakespeare’s plays, and discover a rich world that has immediate relevance in their lives. We are passionate about guiding our students on a journey to confidence and self-discovery. Some of our students come with dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome and other learning & social challenges. Traditional school has not served these children well, but theater offers a learning environment that allow children with different strengths and learning styles to work together to create magic.

Come to one of our shows - you would be stunned to learn that the boy who is bringing the house down with his antics was too shy to speak when he first came to class. The child who is nimbly navigating the verbal twists and turns of that monologue had a hard time deciphering a single line just 14 weeks ago. The girl who is fighting for her character’s objective with focus and commitment has severe ADHD - after years of battling over lost homework and books left here and there, her parents have told us that she always knows exactly where her Shakespeare folder is.

During their time with us, students become intimately acquainted with as many as over a dozen of Shakespeare’s plays. We discuss and decipher and debate the morals and life messages for which Shakespeare is famous - imagine what will happen to our city as these children are let loose, and become the civic leaders of tomorrow.

We know, first-hand, the magic that theater can work. We also know that, within LA, there are communities that do not have the financial resources to experience to the cultural, educational, and artistic treasures of LA. The Los Angeles Drama Club serves as an access point for the youth of Los Angeles, and opens their eyes to the possibilities. We ask for the children’s participation, not only as performers in our Shakespeare productions, but as citizens in our community. As a parent recently wrote, “We are truly grateful for the chances you have given our son. He always came home excited about what he had learned. Thanks to you, a whole new world has opened up to him.”

Whom will your project benefit? Please be specific.

:

We help children in Mid City, West Adams, South LA and beyond. While our primary focus is Los Angeles’s District 10, families bring their children from Inglewood, Compton, Lennox, Leimert Park, Norwalk and San Pedro. In our current neighborhood, there are few walkable community centers, active arts programs, or central merchant-lined streets. Yet, there are hundreds of youth on the streets who need a productive and safe way to spend their time - these children are our target.

According to the LA Times, the median household income in our target area is around $40,000, and the percentages of households that earn $20,000 or less and $20,000 to $40,000 are high for the county. Only about 20% of residents 25 and older have a four-year degree, and about 30% of families are headed by single parents.

These statistics paint a picture of a typical family that does not have a lot of disposable income to spend on enrichment programs, a parent who may not have first-hand experience with the benefits an arts education can provide, a parent who does not have the freedom and flexibility to chauffeur children across the city. These families are our target.

There is no better way to explain the benefits of our organization, than to share with you some of the things our families have to say:

“We are a low-middle class family, and there isn’t a lot of support when you’re in the middle. The fact that the classes were free allowed my daughter to experience this life-changing program while we focused on keeping the lights on at home.”
- Myshell Tabu, parent in Mid City.

“L.A. Drama Club is an extraordinary organization that introduces kids to Shakespeare, not by dumbing it down or "kid-ifying" it, but by actually teaching the young actors to understand and interpret the text.”
- Dee Dee Cooper, teacher in Mid City.

“You can see the impact that it has on the youth simply by witnessing a rehearsal, workshop, or performance. Bringing Shakespeare to Los Angeles youth is not only great for the children, it's great for Los Angeles and our arts community. This is a professional and passionate project of the heart that deserves your support.”
- Scott Fifer, Go Campaign

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

:

We have been sharing space and “playing well with others” for 9+ years. As we move into the next phase, we feel our organization will be best served by having the freedom and independence to make the artistic and administrative choices that will best serve our students, rather than making compromises that best serve the groups with whom we have shared space.

That said, we are drawing on the expertise of the following individuals:

Real Estate Professional (this individual has not been confirmed, though we are in discussions with three people) - Having a knowledgeable “eye” on the areas we are targeting will help insure that we are made aware of all appropriate spaces that become available. Three factors critical to our success:
- An extensive knowledge of the real estate in our target area.
- A passion for improving our communities.
- An ability to think creatively about alternative space. We don’t expect an actual theater to become available, so we need to work with someone who can see the possibilities.

Stage Specialist (Dante Larsen, IATSE Local 33) - Dante will be instrumental in designing the performance space to be cost-efficient, environmentally-friendly, and above all, safe. We have been working with him since the beginning of our organization. Three factors critical to our success:
- Extensive knowledge of stage construction and lighting set-up
- A passion for helping young people succeed
- A network of stage professionals to draw on for volunteer labor

A remarkable characteristic of our organization is the enthusiasm it incites in those who discover our community: we have had many parents, friends, associates, fellow artists, community leaders, neighborhood councils, local merchants, and independent business take interest in our children and our mission. With our own space, we look forward to embracing more of the people who are interested in being a part of LADC. We envision a creative learning community and look forward to welcoming other like-minded organizations to our space, as we have been welcomed in our past, and giving them a place to grow.

How will your project impact the LA2050 "LEARN" metrics?

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle school (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Other:

If other, please specify.:

Strengthen critical thinking skills

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.:

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts
Academic Performance Index scores
As a child works on a Shakespearean character, magic happens. We regularly receive reports from parents & teachers about rapid improvements in fluency, vocabulary & reading levels in our students. Many are facing challenges like shyness, dyslexia & ADHD - challenges that have made school into a painful & tedious chore. Often, these students get frustrated & lose interest; being a good student feels like a lost cause. Studying Shakespeare breaks through that barrier & excites them - digging into the character, and being a part of the excitement of putting on a play is so powerful that they don’t realize that they are decoding complex language.

We work through the text with them, focusing less on rote memorization and more on meaning; with time, not only do their literacy rates skyrocket (standardized tests reveal many of our 4th graders to be reading at 9th grade levels), but they acquire fluency in a Shakespearean second language. Studies have shown that brains equipped with the cognitive processes to master several languages have improved major functions such as general learning, creativity, mental flexibility, interpersonal & communication skills.

Youth unemployment and under-employment

As our students move into high school, many are motivated to continue with us. We have created a “teacher training” program, to work with these students to develop leadership skills, and give them the opportunity to use those skills in the field, as volunteer Associate Teacher/Directors. Our new space will expand the need for Associate Teacher/Directors and we are currently working with our attorney to explore the possibilities of turning some of these into paid positions; meanwhile, students gain invaluable real-world experience.

Strengthen critical thinking skills

Bloom’s Taxonomy says that the highest level of critical thinking is the ability to form an opinion & be able to discuss the finer points of why. This is a regular occurrence in our programs. People often assume that children performing Shakespeare are parroting the words, but our children know the plays on a much deeper level and are able to draw conclusions about the themes, defend their character’s actions, make choices as to how a scene is performed, explain why those choices were made, debate with those who have different opinions about a choice - all skills that demonstrate high levels of critical thinking.

Please select which other LA2050 Goals are relevant to your project or organization (check all that apply):

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

:

Once we have secured our space, we plan to create a report at the 12th month comparing:
- the number of students reached
- the number of teachers employed
- the number of programs offered.
Our goal is to expanding each metric by 200%.

Additionally, we will hold regular meetings among staff and board members to collect constructive criticism and target areas in our program that need more attention.

We will also be asking 10 to 20 families to participate in a survey to gather anecdotal evidence of the benefits of our program - these families will report on grades, test scores and teacher evaluations and how they change as the child participates in our programs.

At the beginning of our project, we will establish a timeline that will estimate our future program development and expansion, which will serve as a consistent marker of the goals we wish to reach.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

:

LESSON ONE: The Challenge of Sharing Space. We have been regular paying tenants of theatre/club spaces for the past 9 years.  As long as we are paying tenants, we are never totally “at home.” Our costumes cannot stay overnight without risking damage or loss. We arrive at the space and must improvise with what we find or don’t find that day. Our spaces are often used as music/nightclub venues in the evenings, and we often have to deal with the remnants - a less-than-ideal environment for young people! We have become flexible, great at compromising, community minded, and incredibly responsible in caring for another’s space. Sometimes, we have had to wake up maintenance staff to let us in the space at the agreed times, while we wait with 26 of our students on the street. We have learned that we deserve to move to a new level at this stage in the company, and we believe that the appropriate next step is for Los Angeles Drama Club to have its own space.

LESSON TWO: Lessons of Maturity. Our non-profit is mature now and ready for this challenge of our own building. Our teachers and staff have a long history of healthy communication and a rigorous work ethic, and we know that we can handle this next step. We have a consistent following of children and families, we obtain regular grants and we hold fundraisers - we are ready to be in a space that is for our mission only. We look forward to transferring the energy that we now use dealing with our "shared space challenges," and focusing it on what we do best - creating a beautiful, inspiring environment in which children can learn and grow.

Explain how implementing your project in the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

:

Right now, LADC has a three year plan to obtain a headquarters for our organization. We have a fully supportive advisory board, a board of directors actively pursuing funding, and eager teachers and administrative assistance. We are establishing an active relationship with a real estate broker, and have already begun targeting potential spaces.

Regardless of all of the wonderful support from our Drama Club family, we need additional financial support to accomplish our goal in less than three years. The fact of the matter is, we have many dedicated students already, and dozens more children on our waitlist.

The implementation of the growth and outreach of our Shakespeare youth program can happen almost instantly with funding. We have stage professionals standing by to help us adapt our space and get it up and running. We have teaching artists standing by to take on new groups. In a matter of months, we would be able to expand our program to a regular six-days-a-week schedule, bringing more kids off the streets and actively engaging their imaginations.

By opening the Los Angeles Drama Club Arts Centre, we will be able to expand our programs with more efficiency and speed, providing more children in the LA community with the opportunity to learn, play and create in a safe and regulated space.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

:

Challenge One - Finding the appropriate space:
We need a space that will provide space for performances, rehearsals, storage and administrative offices.
Strategy:
Cast a wide net - we have enlisted many eyes in our search (real estate professionals, our Board Members and families, our Neighborhood Councils), and have already targeted two possible spaces.
Think creatively - with input from our Stage Specialist, we are looking at all types of buildings.

Challenge Two - Making the space sustainable
Crucial to the successful implementation of the project will be the ability to support the increase in space costs beyond the term of the grant.
Strategies:
Establish relationships with other artist/tenants - we are currently targeting groups and individuals who would be able to serve as sub-tenants, and lessen our obligations
Increase programming - we are currently in a situation where the rental cost is the largest expense when we add a new session or program. Having our own space would remove that consideration. New programming opens us up to new grant possibilities.
Development - we will take advantage of the excitement generated by our new space to target new donors, both private and corporate. We have the full support of our Board of Directors who are eager to take on the challenge.

What resources does your project need? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)

Education/training

Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Discussion
101 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

I am a tremendous admirer of the Los Angeles Drama Club and Shakespeare Institute and supporter. It humbles me to see what this organization does for children, young adults, adults and the community. NOTHING touches me more than offering a hand to change a child's life and I believe once a seed it planted it will grow - potentially bearing generations of fruit and generations of seeds. THIS group is amazing x10 from A to Z.

by michael.j.burg
over 1 year ago

Our students took to the streets last Sunday and in 100 degree heat, passed out Flyers to the Farmers MArket Shoppers about Los Angeles Drama Club - the Country's Youngest Shakespeare Troupe. It was a great exercise for us all - to observe people (as actors, that's what we do!). We noticed the people who build walls around themselves - rushing past the children- not making eye contact. I felt protective of the children for going out on a limb, asking for a simple vote - and being ignored. Then a person would come over to us - asking about who we are, what we do - their hearts and minds wide open. It felt so good when people came to us, that we stopped asking and calling out - and more and more people started coming to our table. And those people were the right people for us - not just because they voted - but they asked about our programs, our shows, or mission. We attracted exactly who we were supposed to . The children felt so purposeful and encouraged - even in the LA great heat wave. I think it is something they can put on college applications! It is a great feeling to be of service in this world. Let the ones who cannot "stop for a child" walk on by...

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

LADC is proud to announce the details for this year's celebrity gala where our students perform scenes with some of their favorite celebrities who give their time and are amazed by these kids:

The date is Sunday, November 9th, 3-7pm. All the information is in this link:

http://www.losangelesdramaclub.com/a-mid-city-nights-dream/

Here is a short video excerpt of the past two years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkWMZ2Y_Dgk

We are so excited to perform this year in the heart of Los Angeles at mid City's Studio 11!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Congratulations to LADC for being in fourth place! Keep voting everyone!

by halfbloodprice
over 1 year ago

I can't even begin to put into words the great change LADC has implemented in so many lives. To provide kids with the opportunity to discover their strengths and battle against their weaknesses, this is a service with repercussions that extend far beyond the years the kids stay with LADC. The benefits of the LADC community reach into the classroom, the home, and most importantly, travel with the kids wherever they go.

by lunafare
over 1 year ago

LADC has been in my daughter's life for eleven years. Georgia began as a kindergartner and left as an assistant coach. Two weeks ago, she left for Berkeley and one of the things she said she would miss most about Los Angeles was LADC. LADC was her second family and I watched her grow in confidence as she trained with Blaire Baron Larsen and Julia Wyson, two of the best drama teachers I have ever met. LADC does not only teach children the works of Shakespeare, but also life-lessons that lead the children towards self-actualization. I have watched them all grow into adults with a sense of compassion and wisdom, I cannot stress how wonderful this company is and how worthy a cause for support.

by amanda.peppe.7
over 1 year ago

This non profit has changed my life! It has helped me so much and helping at shakespeare in the city teaching the kids social justice and shakespeare at the same time and i notice how much these kids appreciate this oppurtunity and how much they appreciate being on stage and learning about shakespeare or sorjurner truth! It would be the best thing on earth for this non profit, My favorite one to get this grant! Thank you!

by lilylarsen
over 1 year ago

LADC is proud to announce the details for this year's celebrity gala where our students perform scenes with some of their favorite celebrities who give their time and are amazed by these kids:

The date is Sunday, November 9th, 3-7pm. All the information is in this link:

http://www.losangelesdramaclub.com/a-mid-city-nights-dream/

Here is a short video excerpt of the past two years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkWMZ2Y_Dgk

We are so excited to perform this year in the heart of Los Angeles at mid City's Studio 11!

by Keniston
over 1 year ago

LADC is a very important part of my life, they deserve this grant more than anyone! I want to see them thrive and grow because it makes so happy. LADC IS AMAZING! Shakespeare is an amazing thing and program for inner-city kids! Let's go LADC!! Everyone vote!

by MariekeVanAsselt
over 1 year ago

Here's to many more fabulous LADC shows, with Blaire and Julia behind them. These ladies are true L.A. heroes who deserve the city's support.

by chelsbythesea
over 1 year ago

We at Los Angeles Drama Club are in awe at the amount of support for us and for getting this grant, which would enable our children to all come under one creative roof in Los Angeles, daily, after school and on weekends to create, to share, to learn, to thrive.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Los Angeles Drama Club has changed my life and I owe them so much.

by Ezra811
over 1 year ago

These are all such wonderful programs! LADC and Shakespeare in the City is honored to be part of this exciting movement in our city. Good luck to everyone !!
Rock that Vote!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

When we moved to mid City from New York City we stumbled upon Los Angeles Drama Club and asa theater lovers we signed our daughter right up. A beginning reader when she started, her vocabulary shot through the roof and suddenly she could do anything because she could master Shakesopeare! It has been so rewarding to watch this process time and time again with each child who travels through the Drama Club and Shakespeare in the city. The way that they approach the text transcends race, class and gender. The other benefit which we never expected was the sense of community it brought to our whole family in a city that is deep, wide and continuous. Shakespeare is the gift that keeps giving and should be utilized in every city and community to bring together diverse groups and learn thorough speaking a common language. Let's start the process right here in Los Angeles!

by Keniston
over 1 year ago

I have watched this non-profit from the very beginning. There were 12 kids, and now over 200 children in Los Angeles are affected by LADC, in a way that most programs can't reach them. They are changed. They will the tomorrow's leaders, helpers, healers and guides. Sure, school programs say they can reach THOUSANDS of kids - but how deep does it go? For how long? What's the follow up for those thousand s of children and how is it being handled? One thing I know about LADC - they are critically aware of every child, his growth, her development, his challenges, her strengths. Pure Quality. They do prove that Art Saves Lives.

by StageTech33
over 1 year ago

Thank you Sheila - and for all your support and astounding leadership.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

The voting has begun! I know how impactful this $100K grant can be to the Mid-City community! Good luck to everyone at Los Angeles Drama Club.

by EvesLime
over 1 year ago

What a breath of fresh air LADC is, reaching children who otherwise might not have a single chance at experiencing artistic growth under caring leadership. In this electronic day to have an organization such as this that pulls these kids into an experience that supports them, nurtures them and plants the artistic seed when our local schools and programs cannot is so invaluable and cannot be overlooked. LADC is the village for these children who seize and blossom and absorb all that it has to offer with enthusiasm and intensity. Truly an experience of a lifetime!

by kay.sweeneyhicks
over 1 year ago

Shakespeare in the City was created because of kids in the streets in Mid CIty, a pocket of Los Angeles that is dearly underserved. Now there is a free safe haven for children to go after school and on weekends to rehearse the plays of William Shakespaere. It's that simple. Once you have a community theatre, your neighborhood improves. Mid CIty is on the map!!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Today is voting day. We noticed a sudden rise in the "most discussed" category today with other wonderful non-profits. Our kids and our Communities have been weighing in on us since DAY ONE. Please take the time to read- below - in the children's own words, what Los Angeles Drama Club and Shakespeare in the CIty as done for them.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Drama Club has been a constant positive force in life ever since I started at age 9. When I started, I didn't really know who Shakespeare was other than that he wrote Romeo and Juliet and things like that. Drama Club opened up my mind to a whole world that I would have never been exposed to at such a young age if it wasn't for them. I have learned so much from them like, when I do shows you can't just learn your lines and be done with it, you have to understand your lines. Because if you don't understand them the audience won't! And that
I am now obsessed with Shakespeare, my room has Shakespeare books on top of Shakespeare books and I'm only 13 years old. I have made so many amazing and lifelong friends through drama club and i'm so excited to see that the next young generation for drama club will be able to have this same magical experience I have every day I step into the theatre. I am thankful to have these wonderful people, and this wonderful club in my life!

Grace Gallagher

by stilljustgrace
over 1 year ago

For a more visual, interactive experience with the Los Angeles Drama Club children, please visit our website and see the videos and photos -
www.losangelesdramaclub.com

by LADC
over 1 year ago

LADC is doing all the right things for our children of today. The opportunities,experiences, knowledge, skills and fun that these young actors are experiencing throughout the programs offered are priceless. The enthusiasm, tenacity and genuine care, concern and passion that the LADC staff shows for their craft is a gift for these children and their families beyond measure.

Jan B.

by beachbaums
over 1 year ago

The Los Angeles Drama Club and Shakespeare Institute is an ideal outlet for our young generation to learn and express their inner talents. What better environment for the kids to learn how to work together as a group and be free to express their emotions through art.The professional environment of the Drama Club will ensure that all that participate will enjoy an enriching and meaningful experience to cherish for a lifetime.

by RosettaW
over 1 year ago

I think it's been only about two years since I joined LADC, and it has definitely shaped who I am as a person and as an artist. This program emphasized to me the importance of not only Shakespeare, but also to be comfortable in my own skin. Additionally, the amount of passion in this place is unbelievable. Everyone in LADC is there because they care about what they're doing; the students and the teachers put in so much love into their work. I truly believe that every child should have an opportunity to experience what I have. I'm so excited that this opportunity has come around: it's about time for this amazing organization to have its own stage!

by yourasian
over 1 year ago

I worked with LADC last summer and could not have been more impressed. I couldn't believe the capacity of these children to pick up Shakespeare scenes without any prior knowledge of Shakespeare and see how the material helped them grow not only as actors but as people by the end of their time at LADC. The staff is so energetic, loving, and compassionate and the work that comes out of LADC is unparalleled!!

by alyssa.ove
over 1 year ago

Love the difference LADC makes to the kids that both perform and those who come to the performances, as well as the community at large! Such a great organization!

by Lisa.Cassandra
over 1 year ago

I have worked with Los Angeles Drama Club (LADC) for more than 3 years now. I have watched our 'Shakespeare in the City' outreach program be embraced by the community, and see the children thrived from their involvement in this unique craft. With our current rate of growth the infrastructure we'd hoped for is now a necessity. I hope you will support this cause, so we can continue to provide low cost and free arts in the city.

by EvesLime
over 1 year ago

LADC is an incredible gift to the children of the city of Los Angeles. They provide opportunities to young people to really stretch and grow in beautiful ways through Theater. I believe that what they have to offer will help the young people involved build confidence and skills that will last them a lifetime. I enjoy their performances, and am looking forward to watching this organization grow!

by nicoletta76
over 1 year ago

My daughter Ella has participated in two amazing sessions with L.A. Drama Club and we are simply astounded by the amount of learning, personal growth, and enthusiasm for Shakespeare it has engendered in her. The other day, I walked into the living room and found Ella curled up on the couch with one of my big college Shakespeare volumes on her lap - just happily reading. She said, "Oh I found Midsummer Night's Dream, so I just thought I'd read the whole thing." and she also said, "you know, they taught me like EVERY word of Shakespeare, so yeah - I understand it." And she did! She LOVES It! She reads Shakespeare for hours now -- at home! She is 10. THIS IS A MAGICAL PROGRAM!!!

by wendywitherspoon
over 1 year ago

The Los Angeles Drama Club is truly a life changing group. I can speak from experience, as after 7 years of acting and volunteering with this organization I have seen myself evolve in ways I never thought possible. LADC helped me grow from a shy 8 year old to a person comfortable with myself in both a personal context and on stage (another occurrence that seemed overwhelming and impossible to 8 year old me): drama club is single handedly responsible for that transition. The LADC has changed countless lives including my own from the inside of garages, public libraries, theaters with unwelcoming downstairs neighbors, and even on street corners with people willing (or unwilling) to watch. Having seen first hand what this organization can do and has done with next to nothing, one can only imagine how they would succeed with greater funding. There is nothing more valuable for a child from any walk of life to gain the ability to get up in front of an audience and speak words of power. Through this very experience, I was able to find my own personal power, and for that, I am forever grateful. I never knew what it meant to stand up to authority or protest an injustice before the drama club found me, and now I can't imagine who I would be without those ideals. There is no other organization that gives this gift as freely and effectively as Shakespeare in the City. I would not be the person I am today without Blaire, Julia, and the entire LADC family, and there is nothing I would like to see more than for this organization to finally receive the recognition it deserves. 

by scout.turkel.7
over 1 year ago

Los Angeles Drama Club truly is a gem. My daughter joined LADC this year and has recently declared that she never wants to leave it. She has grown so much in character thanks to the guidance of Miss Blaire and Miss Julia and their amazing staff and volunteers. My daughter has a speech impediment but she no longer shies away from speaking in front of her peers nor from performing in front of an audience of strangers. In fact, she can't wait to sink her teeth into new roles. LADC has both nurtured and challenged her in ways that I once only dreamed of. As a parent of a thoughtful and intelligent ten year old, I longed for a safe place where my daughter would feel free to channel her creativity and her voice. Well, we have finally found that at LADC and we are extremely grateful.

by mjrp
over 1 year ago

I have been and am continuously impressed with the Los Angeles Drama Club. In this sprawling city we live in which is so geared toward "Hollywood" acting for children, we are very fortunate to have this exceptional opportunity for the children of LA. LADC teaches Shakespeare to kids starting at very early ages and the kids "get" it. LADC is communal, smart and energetic, and it generates articulate kids who can not only speak the words of Shakespeare, but who also understand them. The best young acting that I have seen comes from this company and the children are not precocious or affected. The kids are smart, thoughtful and authentic and they want to work hard. LADC works with a very broad mix of kids and serves them all equally and beautifully. It is stunning what they have done for the kids and the families of LA. I am very grateful that my own sons have been able to work with LADC. Because of it , they understand Shakespeare, are very familiar with the works, and can speak the text well and confidently. Blaire and Julia and their team of teachers never seem to fear that the kids...any kids, can't handle the material. I am excited to see what they will be doing in the future!

by lnmdevine
over 1 year ago

Ever since I met Blaire Baron Larsen and learned about the incredible work of the Los Angeles Drama Club, I have been fascinated and thrilled that Shakespeare is being brought to young people with such passion and knowledge. I look forward to the possibilities of what the future holds for LADC!

by Oots
over 1 year ago

Los Angeles Drama Club has been a constant, shining light in our lives since our daughter joined seven years ago. Its vibrant founders continue to lead the way in Los Angeles to bring Shakespeare to neighborhoods where the Bard was barred. Through their Shakespeare in the City program, it has been astounding to see the passion, talent and brilliance it has awakened in the Mid-City area!! My children will forever be indebted to LADC for all they have learned about history, language, and story structure – more than any school curriculum could have provided. They have found discipline and self-confidence through intense rehearsals and performances. This has been such an exponentially positive experience for them and LADC students pay it forward every day, whether it’s their ability to work collaboratively, embrace individuality, be articulate and expressive and empathetic towards others. In a city like Los Angeles, every child needs an outlet, be it sports or the arts. We should all be so grateful to LADC to help our youngest citizens find authenticity, happiness and confidence through Shakespeare. Viva LADC!

by daryl3000
over 1 year ago

The funding to allow expansion of LADC through acquisition of their own spaces will ensure that LA in 2050 is a place in which all of us want to live. Participation in drama, theatre and the arts gives children confidence, teaches them invaluable skills, and inspires them to live with beauty, joy and purpose. So many schools have cut their arts programs that children are not getting this exposure, and LADC is there to fill the breach, particularly in communities without additional funds to support extracurricular arts programs. LADC provides support, instruction, collaboration and teaching in areas schools no longer can. And this is not just any arts program. This is a program in which students learn some of the most intellectually complex yet aesthetically beautiful prose and poetry, shaped in a story they can tell through their own understanding and interpretation, leading to growth as scholars, students and people in ways that typical school drama programs (if schools still have then) cannot. Students learn from reading Shakespeare how to interpret complex and difficult prose but also how to enjoy by interpretation and understanding some of the most poetic works in the English language, enriching their lives and expanding their vocabulary. So many adults find Shakespeare daunting- LADC introduces children to the beauty of his language, the humor and drama of his stories, all in a way that fosters celebration of the Bard and leads to understanding of literature in a way many adults have not attained. Investment in LADC is investment in the future of children- and the future of Los Angeles.

by booksrockcal
over 1 year ago

Los Angeles Drama Club has been a huge part of my life for the past four years. I'm ten. Yes, I performed an excerpt from Taming of the Shrew at a mere six years old. LADC offers techniques that can make The Tempest roll off of toddler tongues. They worked on my comedic timing, movement, and memorization skills. Playing with the troupe has definitely improved my confidence.

by Mma-Syrai
over 1 year ago

This Troupe will move you to tears. You look into the eyes and hearts of these children and all at once you see their innocence, not their backgrounds. You see their feelings of home and team and an unsuspected inner confidence. These qualities are then brought into their worlds.

As we (LADC) nurture our children, they in turn, nurture our world. All I can say is I am captivated by the earnestness and unceasing efforts of LADC. I will be a patron and fan for as long as there is even 1 child and one soliloquy to be seen..

by victorascott
over 1 year ago

What a wonderful organization! I believe every child should get the chance to express themselves thru art.

by amandafoley
over 1 year ago

I am now in 8th grade. All through elementary school, I took courses here. I was going through a lot and coming here gave me a place to share and be my crazy self. One of my best memories was being onstage in King John. I will never forget it. This program is a big part of why I am able to speak in front of people.

by heavy_breathing
over 1 year ago

I did LADC for 6 years starting at 5, and it changed and shaped who I am as a human and what kind of person I want to be. At such a young age I learned the incredible work of
William Shakesphere and undertood the greater meaning of community and art. It is truly amazing the work LADC is doing and it is a absolute gift to a child to learn from these great artists. It gave me and so many other wonderfull thespians hope to add to the world. From working on the big stage to breing a willful minor and traveling from places in Mid-City (also the part of town I live in,)
I have learned some of the greatest lessons any one could from LADC. They are so incredibly deserving of their own stage. Thank you LADC, you have forever changed me! #theplaysthething
--
Joe Blaugrund
Age 13

by JoeBlaugrund
over 1 year ago

Los Angeles is so blessed to have such a loving, unselfish, hardworking and talented organization to inspire and motivate our children! Thank you LADC!!!

by Tunetam
over 1 year ago

We are so thrilled to be a part of the LA 2050 Initiative. It's inspiring to see the other submissions, and so exciting to witness the amazing people and organizations that are all working to help LA reach its full potential as a world-class city. This is a win-win situation - of course, we would love to win, but no matter what happens, LA and its citizens (and I'm a proud one) will be the ultimate winners!

by juliawyson
over 1 year ago

I am so proud to see LADC is a part of the LA 2050 initiative. As a native of South LA/mid-city, I am so proud of the work they do for Los Angeles youth. I have seen Shakespeare transform lives of children who would otherwise chosen different paths as theater is often not an option in their communities. Through the LADC, many young Angelenos gain exposure to the arts and develop a lifelong bond with the multiple disciplines taught through the intense study of theater. This is only second to the cognitive development young children experience when working through the prose of William Shakespeare. Although I am fond of the many organizations who have submitted responses, I am so proud to see LADC in the running as a front-runner to win the LA 2050 award. Kudos to their team for their hard work and continued dedication to Los Angeles youth.

by RichG
over 1 year ago

I have been part of LADC for about 8 years now, yet the work that they do never ceases to amaze me. The drama club provided me with a deep understanding of Shakespeare's plays and it has also created a community that is near to my heart. Every child is given the opportunity to learn something new, and experience things that were never possible before. I have also been volunteering for the drama club for 2 years, and it is absolutely incredible to see the kids improvement, even over the course of one week. You can see their attitudes towards the text slowly becoming more and more enthusiastic. As an artistic associate and member of the youth advisory board, I have bonded with the actors and seen just how great an impact that LADC has on them. LADC could not be any more deserving of their own space, and I am so proud of how far we have come.

by halfbloodprice
over 1 year ago

I've worked with LADC for over two years now, and am still overwhelmed at how our kids have grown over the years; kids who couldn't read two years ago now have improved their skills immensely, and we have heard multiple reports of improvement in school work and in self-confidence. I only hope that Los Angeles Drama Club can expand to reach more kids, because art really does save lives. Drama Club is truly helping the youth of LA become better citizens, thinkers, and young artists.

by sgracet6
over 1 year ago

I did LADC for 6 years starting at 5, and it changed and shaped who I am as a human and what kind of person I want to be. At such a young age I learned the incredible work of
William Shakesphere and undertood the greater meaning of community and art. It is truly amazing the work LADC is doing and it is a absolute gift to a child to learn from these great artists. It gave me and so many other wonderfull thespians hope to add to the world. From working on the big stage to breing a willful minor and traveling from places in Mid-City (also the part of town I live in,)
I have learned some of the greatest lessons any one could from LADC. They are so incredibly deserving of their own stage. Thank you LADC, you have forever changed me! #theplaysthething

by JoeBlaugrund
over 1 year ago

Los Angeles Drama Club needs to be recognized and supported in a big way.LA2050 would be a huge leap for this wonderful one-of-a-kind community. LADC is not only an arts and literacy program, but it is an Emergency Room, A Shelter, A Therapist in addition to the wonderful productions it puts out with the children and youth of Los Angeles. Children come who love the arts, children come who need a way to express themselves in a big way, children come because they need an emotional shelter from the barrage of media or the onslaught of information coming at them which can be difficult to process. Los Angeles Drama Club is a gem in our city. Treat it right.

by lilyscottlarsen
over 1 year ago

Such a wonderful organization that does so much for the community and young people of Los Angeles whom would otherwise never have such a wonderful opportunity. LADC not only needs your support it thoroughly deserves it. Reward them

by FrankButchTowers
over 1 year ago

LADC is doing fantastic work - these are exactly the kind of programs that city kids need to thrive. Please give them your vote and your support!

by scottfifer
over 1 year ago

LADC gives children a creative home - now they deserve a brick and mortar home - where kids can go every day after school and on weekends to connect, share, express, thrive and create. Art Saves Lives.
www.losangelesdramaclub.com. VOTE for LADC on September 2. Right here!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Los Angeles Drama Club has been in my life for 10 years. I started at 4 and I am 14. I got in to LACHSA doing a monologue from Richard III, which I had learned when I was 11. Shakespeare makes me feel powerful. I turn to his characters in my darkest times. I've had a lot of dark times in my life. I have been in schools that don't have any form of art and I wilted. I am sure there are kids like me who are the same. I do believe that ARt can save your life. Thank you Los Angeles Drama Club. Love Lily Scott Larsen

by lilyscottlarsen
over 1 year ago

This really is amazing. We are so lucky to be in such a wonderful city, with excellent Players. I think this is only the beginning of a very great story. GO LADC!

by RichG
over 1 year ago

we are so moved by how many kids came to the Farmers Markets this weekend in the heat to get people to vote - but it was real quality time spent. They listened, they became interested, perhaps we met our future donors.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Thank you so so much!!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

thank you Amanda- what a wonderful tribute!
Miss blaire

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

You're absolutely right, and thank you for understanding that our mission is to truly connect with and make a difference for every child we come into contact with!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

And you have been a fabulous source of support for us!! So glad that you guys are a part of our community! Thank you ...

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Frank you have been a great support to us, all the way from the East Coast. We hope to start a New York Drama Club next.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Grace you are a great example of what happens to children who become exposed to great literature at a young age - Shakespeare is your friend now, for life. He is in your bones. And you're right, you do have a community of your artists who are your sisters and brothers for life.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Coming from a highly respected teacher, these are golden words to us. THank you Jenette. We hope you will come up to meet the kids again soon!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Thank you Scott. We value your contribution.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Wendy, thank you so much for this comment. We love the story of Ella reading Midsummer Night's Dream. They feel like Shakespeare is their friend!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Ezra thank you for all your work with Shakespeare in the City. Keep spreading the word. We hope to get this grant and have a brick and mortar home!!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Scout, this was a very moving and amazing review for LADC. We cherish you and your involvement with us - ever since we met you - and you went and memorized your Titania lines - age 8 - we knew you were part of our family. We can't wait to work with you this Fall.
xoxo
Miss BLaire and Miss Julia

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Your daughter is WHY we started Los Angeles Drama Club. We love working with her - we love seeing her face at every rehearsal, so open and excited and passionate for this work. Thank you for bringing her to us - and that drive from Eagle Rock!!. You both are amazing parents.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

We love this - every words is true, Ellen!! Thank you for your support all these years - your sons have been a big part of LADC. xo

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Thank you so much for these words, and for participating in this event with Los Angeles Drama Club!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Daryl, no one could ask for a more supportive LADC parent than you. We cherish your support and enthusiasm, and your devotion to what we do here. Thank you for these words! Thank you for trusting your child with us ! We are so proud of Isabella.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Honestly, reading reviews like this help us march forward, heart and arms open to whatever the future holds for LADC. You remind us of why we do what we do. You give us further confidence in asking for help and support. We thank you beyond measure for your encouraging words!!!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

MMa you are a rare gem on this planet - this community is only bettered by your participation, your talent, your scope and your wisdom. We forget your ripe age of 10 at times, because of what you have already done in your young life!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

This is a beautifully put description - it literally took our breath away to read this. We are honored to have your support.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Alyssa we miss you so much! Congratulations on graduating USC Theatre Dept !! We expect great things. Please don't be a stranger.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Andrea Kim you are a prized gem at Los Angeles Drama Club. We are excited to see you for Troilus And Cressida this Winter.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

That is beautifully put. We are so touched by these wonderful comments.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

You are right! Thanks for those words.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

You will have these tools to carry with you into high school as well.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Joe, you were one of our first. Your Hamlet - at age 10 - defied logic. You are part of LADC - for the rest of your life.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

You're Welcome! And thank you for your support. We appreciate it! LADC

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Nicole, you came to one of our very first shows - thank you for your spot on comments!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

THank you Lisa for your support and keeping us in the loop with grants.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

We are in great company here at LA2050. We are very excited to be on the path with you all.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Rich, this was perfectly described in your post. Thank you for your inspiration.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

It's true. Watching the children improve their reading skills and confidence before our eyes in such a short time is so inspiring and why we do what we do. You are part of LADC through and through.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Sydney - you are a wonderful artist and teacher - we value you so much here. Enjoy your first year at college and come teach with us in the Summer. We love you.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Joe, it has been such an honor to see you grow into a confident and solid artist. Your Hamlet (at age 10) inspired every audience member to re-think what children are capable of.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

That is exactly right, Lily. we sometimes are a shelter, an emergency room. In that sense, Art does save lives.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Evelyn it has been an honor to work with Wilson and Michelle here in Mid City. We have seen them thrive as young Latino artists as young leaders.

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

thank you Rich!!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

this is beautifully put!! We're so touched - thank you!

by BlaireBaron
over 1 year ago

Ezra - you are a rock in our organization. Thank you for taking the time to show your support. We are so lucky to have such a great team of people to who remain committed to the arts and our city's youth.

by RichG
over 1 year ago

THank you for your kinds words.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

We agree Frank - thanks for rooting for us

by LADC
over 1 year ago

you know I believe in your cause. Anything I can do to help please call on me.

by FrankButchTowers
over 1 year ago

So glad that your involvement with LADC is still strong and growing into new opportunities !!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

You have stepped into your power, Andrea - and not even 16.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Thank you Rosetta, for all your patronage of LADC.

by LADC
over 1 year ago

We have really loved watching Solomon blossom into a young man of dignity, grace, confidence, and with a desire to tackle more than he can chew, and chew it!! Thank you for your contribution to LADC!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Thank you for your kind words!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Thank you for this - we are so touched!!

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Thank you Lisa! Great to see you at ARTS HIGH this week

by LADC
over 1 year ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
$100,000
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Submission Ended
Thursday, July 31, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voting Ended
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, September 30, 2014