Epic Theatre Ensemble
Our support of Epic Theatre Ensemble, an in-school, school-wide educational arts integration model that builds language and literacy skills to improve students’ academic performance and college access, led to strategic partnerships with a group of small schools all sharing a campus at Evander Childs School complex. Epic successfully accomplishes an integration of the arts with academia and college preparation by connecting students with professional artists who have been cross-trained in the Epic curriculum, which embeds test prep and college awareness into the fabric of the artistic program. In the first pilot of the program, college application, acceptance, and enrollment rates approached 100% for students who participated both in-school and after-school. During the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years, we supported the expansion of the program which now focuses on four of the schools with the deepest buy-in to Epic’s model. Students write and perform theater productions that incorporate academic lessons, and those interested in participating in after-school theater programming can take part in the Shakespeare Remix or Epic NEXT programs, which provide more intensive arts-plus-education interventions.
Heckscher is absolutely critical to our work. They passionately fund their values; they are efficient and thoughtful about measuring and increasing impact; and they are flexible, communicative, and responsive to program needs and ambitions. Working with them over the last few years has led to a massive shift in our impact on college attendance and persistence, the former now approaching 100% in many programs they fund.Ron Russell, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Epic Theatre Ensemble