The Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund awarded a grant of $400,000 over three years to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The grant's purpose is to increase ASF's African-American audience by expanding its programming to include more plays written, directed and acted by African-Americans.
Among the theatre's initiatives is a plan to commission two African American playwrights a year as part of the Southern Writer's Project.
Alabama Shakespeare Festival is the fifth largest Shakespeare festival in the world. Located in Montgomery, where it serves as the State Theatre of Alabama as well, ASF is dedicated to presenting the plays of William Shakespeare, developing new polays through the Southern Writer's Project and educating students through both an Master of Fine Arts/Professional Actor Training Program and youth programs like YOUTHeatre and SchoolFest.
The Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund supports programs that enhance the cultural life of a community. It funds efforts to build audiences for the performing, visual, literary and folk arts and supports programs to improve literacy and urban parks.
Other grant recipients include the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. -- By Christine Ehren