Wednesday, March 12, 2008

US Airways Gives Wings to Theatre for Young Audiences

TEMPE, Ariz. — In a "first" for theatre for young people, US Airways is sponsoring a three-city festival , "Imagination Begins with US," which debuts three original plays in the airline's three hub cities of Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

"There is a long tradition of new theatrical productions being made possible by individual 'angels' and foundations. The idea that a corporation, especially an airline, is serving that function for young audiences is truly innovative," said Jenny Millinger, director of strategic initiatives at Childsplay, one of the participating theatres.

The three new plays will be produced and performed in rotation during the 18-month festival, which opens in spring 2008. Participating theatres are People's Light & Theatre near Philadelphia, Children's Theatre of Charlotte, in Charlotte, N. C.; and Childsplay in Tempe, Ariz.

Each play, written for youth ages 8 to 18 and their families, is a page-to-stage production, based upon a novel. US Airways is underwriting the festival with a significant financial contribution.

"We are extremely proud to be spearheading such an innovative festival. This is the first time that three theater companies in three different cities are collaborating to produce and exchange three new plays for young audiences. These plays promote literacy, creativity, and ultimately, academic success for students," said C.A. Howlett, senior vice president of public affairs at US Airways.

US Airways is the fifth-largest domestic airline employing more than 36,000 aviation professionals worldwide. Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix are major hub cities for the airline.

This unique festival provides audiences with access to diverse plays that address critical issues facing today's young people: war, loyalty, racial and class prejudice, and the loss of a parent. It's nice to see a major company investing in a cultural opportunity for young people and their families.

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