Posted on December 10th, 2020
DALLAS, TX (Dec. 10, 2020) – Although the Music Hall at Fair Park remained dark for most of 2020, Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) continued to deliver the spirit of Broadway to the community through various education and community partnership programs such as DSM Cares, Black Art Matters and ConnectEDU.
“This past year proved to be challenging in many ways, but one of the positive outcomes has been our increase in education and community-focused programs,” said Ken Novice, president of Dallas Summer Musicals. “We pivoted some of our programs, like taking our master classes and High School Musical Theatre Awards virtual, and even created new programs like Black Art Matters and ConnectEDU. Our team worked earnestly finding fresh ways to connect and engage students and community members and never failed to deliver the spirit of Broadway to those who need it most, especially during these trying times.”
“This year has been filled with opportunities for innovation and collaboration, deepening the connections we have formed with our students, teachers, parents, and community members,” said Devon Miller, director of education and community partnerships at DSM. “Never wavering from our commitments to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, our programs continue to work hand-in-hand with historically underrepresented communities, especially in South Dallas, to ensure their equitable inclusion in our work. We are especially proud of our efforts to support local BIPOIC artists in this time of need, a group that continues to be disproportionately impacted, socially and economically, by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
DSM Cares is a community service initiative focused on providing strong social service to DSM’s South Dallas neighbors. Launched in October 2019 as an employee volunteer program, DSM Cares quickly grew to include Board members, donors, teaching artists, and various community partners. Central to the program is DSM’s partnership with CitySquare, whose mission is “to fight the causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy, and friendship.” In recognition of its ongoing commitment, DSM was honored to receive CitySquare’s highest volunteer award, the 2020 CitySquare President’s Award. Since the inception of this partnership, DSM has been able to aid in the feeding of more than 6,000+ food‐insecure individuals and families.
In response to increased calls for social and racial justice, DSM developed Black Art Matters, a digital conversation series spotlighting local Black artists on DSM’s YouTube page. The creation and implementation of this virtual program continues to be a direct demonstration of DSM’s stance that Black Lives Matter. The program has quickly grown to one that has become recognized and respected in Dallas’s theatre community.
DSM and Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) joined forces to launch a new professional development program, ConnectEDU powered by PNC. ConnectEDU is focused on providing high-quality professional development opportunities for theatre and dance educators that will increase cultural intelligence in the classroom. The goal of the program is to provide Dallas ISD educators with the opportunity to engage and learn from high-profile directors, choreographers, acting coaches, dancers, and other theatre professionals, ultimately leading to the use of increased anti-racist and inclusive learning methods in the classroom. ConnectEDU is the first program to be implemented as part of the brand new partnership formed between DSM and Dallas ISD with the intent to bring the spirit of Broadway to virtual learning and engagement opportunities for students and educators throughout the district.
In addition to ConnectEDU, Dallas ISD Broadway Days is a program set to roll out Spring of 2021 and will bring live theatre into Dallas ISD classrooms. Understanding the critical importance for children to experience live theatrical entertainment, DSM will provide the opportunity for all students throughout the district to watch and engage with virtually streamed productions that embody the spirit of Broadway.
The 9th Annual DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards (DSM HSMTA) showcased many changes that led to further equity and representation among schools, nominees, and winners. The format of the awards show itself was also a first for the organization, presented virtually and live streamed through DSM’s YouTube page. With 69 schools presenting 72 productions, the 2020 DSM HSMTA was one of the largest years to‐date, serving 5,000+ students and educators. Awards were presented to students in 15 categories and $55,000 in scholarships were awarded to students and educators.
About Dallas Summer Musicals
For nearly 80 years, the non-profit Dallas Summer Musicals Inc. (DSM) has presented the very best in Broadway to North Texas audiences. Located in the historic Music Hall at Fair Park, DSM promotes excellence in live musical theatre with year-round performances for diverse audiences of all ages, impacting the lives of children and families through education and community outreach programs, while enriching the cultural landscape of North Texas and the Southwest Region.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, DSM relies on a variety of funding sources to offer affordable ticket prices, preserve the beautiful historic theatre, educate young audiences and develop impactful community programs.
DSM gratefully acknowledges the support of our season sponsors, annual fund donors and corporate partners American Airlines, Texas Instruments, The Dallas Morning News, and WFAA TV Channel 8. For more information about Dallas Summer Musicals, please call 214.421.5678 or visit our website at DallasSummerMusicals.org.
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