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Drama of Education Funding Hits the Big Stage in School Play

Philadelphia – Pennsylvania’s school funding crisis will take center stage in School Play at the nationally-renowned Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015.  Due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews following the sold-out premiere performances last April at the National Constitution Center, School Play will return for a free one-night show on the Avenue of the Arts.

The timing of School Play could not be more relevant as the two-month-old budget standoff continues in Harrisburg with new funding for education at the top of the agenda.  The documentary-based live theatre production from playwrights Arden Kass and Seth Bauer, commissioned by Public Citizens for Children and Youth, uses the real voices of more than 100 Pennsylvanians to dramatize funding inequities among school districts across the state.

“Pennsylvania children are going back to school this year facing uncertainty and inequity,” said Donna Cooper, Executive Director for PCCY.  “The raw emotion in the voices of students, parents, teachers, and administrators makes it clear that our state leaders need to step up and give children the proper resources they need to flourish in school.”

The performance at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the September 16th is a collaborative production presented by Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theater and The Arden Theatre Company, and will kick off a statewide tour as the production hits the road with scheduled performances in several different venues across the state.

“We are putting human faces to this critical issue so people understand why education funding matters,” says playwright Arden Kass. “We want to use the unique abilities of live performance to reach people in a way that’s different from news reports and speeches. By cutting through the numbers and political arguments, we will help discover ways to make things better for our children and communities.”  

GroundSwell, an advocacy and community engagement program of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and a key partner in bringing School Play to the stage, points out that the performance will take place in the middle of National Arts in Education Week, with activities planned by Americans for the Arts during the week of September 13th-19th. The Cultural Alliance and its regional partners are also pursuing a State resolution to proclaim the 13-19th as Pennsylvania Arts in Education Week, and seeking local resolutions from City Council and the School District in support of the designation.

“In other cities, National Arts in Education Week is a time to recognize thriving arts programs—but here in Pennsylvania, it should be a call to action,” said Maud Lyon, President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “When our schools are forced to make tough budget cuts, too often art and music classes are the first to go, despite clear evidence that they are essential components of a well-rounded education. The September 16th performance of School Play is a chance for Greater Philadelphia’s theater and cultural community to come together to support schools across the region, and send a message to our elected officials about the value of arts education.”

Tickets for the free one-night performance are going fast.  Those interested in attending should reserve their seats by visiting  To learn more about School Play or to download production materials including a full script, log on to