I just had a great idea for a new (possibly 2013) production. The Artist, Interrupted conference I attend this April featured a panel discussion which included a member of the Utah Arts Council. She explained to us there, something I had learned before, but never really applied to myself. You can get grants for artistic projects if you prove that your work is something that will educate, or otherwise benefit the community.
This morning, I've been thinking: I could write and produce a play that gets ESL students to apply their skills outside of class. We could put it on at the Sorenson Unity Center or at the WVC Cultural Center, or even at the park. The project would start with a writing contest for which they submit personal essays entitled, "An Incredible True Story." The prize for the most interesting story is that we use it for the play. I wouldn't want them to incriminate themselves (y'know, in case they want to tell border-crossing stories), so, I'd have to make some rules, that help them keep their confidentiality. Because, eventually, the audience will need to know that the play was based on a true story written by one of the students. And then there's always the possibility that I'll choose three plays and do a series of three one-acts, or somehow fuse the stories together. And why not make it a musical?
Eventually, the project will be about publicizing the show. I'd love the focus to be on getting not just their families, but the Salt Lake community to attend. There's got to be a motivation for them to improve their English, and for this to be something that can bring native English speakers, and English language learners together. What would draw people to this? What would it take to get the library system to adopt this?
If we got a grant we could pay for performance space, a music composer, an accompanist, and some serious advertising.