Baltimore City College gets $10,000 grant for theater department

Baltimore City College’s theater department has been selected for a $10,000 grant from NBC, the network announced Monday.

NBC handed out a half-million dollars to 50 high school theater programs across the country in honor of its forthcoming drama, “Rise.” The show, which premieres next week, is about a high school theater department and the impact it has on a working-class town.

Each grant is designed to cover some of the needs of a school’s theater program, from production experiences to technical equipment. To qualify, schools had to submit a video celebrating their theater program and an essay explaining what they would do with the money.

City was the only school in Maryland selected for the program. The school system doesn’t put any money toward the public high school’s theater program, so the drama club survives off of ticket and snack sales, along with the occasional donation.

“We have great motivated students here — really creative students who love making theater,” said Alan Rosenberg, the club’s director. “Money has always been our biggest stumbling block.”

Rosenberg said the lack of funds has kept the group from putting together more sophisticated sets and costumes. But with the grant money, the school will be able to up its production value, and pursue more projects.

“To me, it means that we finally have the financial equivalent of what these kids deserve based on their creativity and talent,” he said.

The $10,000 isn’t going to sustain the club for the next decade, Rosenberg said, but the school will be able to build on the initial investment.

"It is a dream come true for me that 'Rise' will have a genuine impact on 50 high school drama programs throughout the country," Jason Katims, the show's creator and executive producer, said in a statement. "It has never been clearer that the future of our country rests on the shoulders of the next generation of young leaders.”

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