Avalon School gets a boost for play with Foundation grant

By Sarah CR Clark

The Avalon School, 700 Glendale St., is one of 14 local programs and initiatives to receive a 2021 grant from the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation.

Supported by grant funds, Avalon students will partner with Macalester College theater professor Harry Waters Jr. to create an original play. This production will “allow students a creative outlet to share their stories about resilience during the racial uprising (following the murder of George Floyd) and pandemic,” said Avalon advisor Kevin Ward.

Originally scheduled to premiere this spring, the production has been moved to the fall of 2022.

“We think the students will be more engaged in the fall and we hope that Professor Waters’ schedule will also lighten up so that he will have more time to dedicate to the project,” Ward explained.

Readers may recognize Waters as an actor in films such as “Back to the Future” and “What A Country” or plays like “Ragtime” and “Good Person of Szechuan.” Waters has also directed numerous stage productions.

SAP Community Foundation executive director Julie Drechsler said her organization is “always proud to support local initiatives that provide an opportunity for young people to be involved in the arts. The project is unique as the Avalon students will work together with professor Waters to co-create a play and then also perform what they collectively created.

“The project is much more than just a play, it is an opportunity for students to work together and to have their voice heard on issues that are important to them,” Drechsler continued. “It is a great project.”

The partnership between Avalon School and Waters dates back about four years ago to a conference called Macalester Roundtable.

“We’ve been connecting ever since,” Ward explained. “We hit it off right away.”

The Avalon School is a tuition-free public charter school with an enrollment of about 240 students in grades 6-12 that employs project-based learning. 

Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a regular freelance writer for the Bugle.

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