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The Broadway League
729 Seventh Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10019
CONTACT: Elisa Shevitz
Telephone: 212-764-1122
Email: EShevitz@broadway.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Broadway League Announces 2011 “League Educator Apple Awards”
May 05, 2011
Arts Educators from Florida and California Honored for Bringing Broadway Theatre to the Classroom


The Broadway League, the national trade organization for the commercial theatre industry, announced the 2011 “League Educator Apple Awards” recipients. The awards acknowledge the efforts of local schools and community groups that support programs relating to Broadway or touring Broadway shows, promoting further development of theatre education.

The League is committed to working with its members to develop new audiences and model projects by supporting education initiatives across the country . Now in its eighth year, the League's Education and Community Engagement Committee has honored educators, administrators, and school district leaders from around the country for their commitment to arts education and their work in collaboration with League-member venues that present touring Broadway shows. Through this award, the League encourages the development of theatre education programs nationally while helping to build a future generation of theatregoers.

“We are honored to present two awards this year,” said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League. “These teachers celebrate and foster the relationship between schools and Broadway League member venues around the country as well as continuing the tradition of quality arts education for our children.”

THE RECIPIENTS

The 2011 recipients are Lisa Okikawa, Teacher of Visually Impaired Students in the Pasadena Unified School District, and the first to receive this award from the Los Angles area, and Nelson Torres, Director of Technical Theatre Studies at Howard W. Blake School of the Art in Tampa, Florida, representing the fourth recipient from Tampa, the most ever from one city.

Lisa Okikawa, Teacher of Visually Impaired Students in the Pasadena Unified School District, Pasadena, California

Ms. Okikawa began her ongoing collaboration with Center Theatre Group in April of 2009 with Ain't Misbehavin' . Ms. Okikawa's innovation tailored the recent production of Mary Poppins so that visually impaired students could experience the show through a “touch tour” and modified lesson plans that best accommodated their needs. Her efforts led her students to realize that art and creativity could be vital parts of their lives, allowing for new topics of discussion and academic exploration.

Nelson Torres, Director of Technical Theatre Studies at Howard W. Blake School of the Arts, Tampa, Florida

This past year, Mr. Torres partnered with the Patel Conservatory at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. This collaboration built a strong foundation for introducing students to the non-performance side of theatre, by providing them with internship opportunities in production and administration as well as hands-on experience in the scenic design and construction of a local youth show. Mr. Torres's students also saw In the Heights and complemented the performance with creative exercises exploring their own neighborhoods as artistic spaces.