Helping bring literature from the page to the stage for thousands of Central Florida eighth graders, Walt Disney World Resort made a $200,000 donation to United Arts of Central Florida to enable Orange County Public Schools students to attend a performance at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our young children – for some a new experience – to see a live theater performance, fostering an appreciation for the arts that also supports their learning curriculum,” said Flora Maria Garcia, president and CEO of United Arts.
Over 14,000 eighth graders attended a performance of “The Giver” at the Walt Disney Theater inside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The presentation by the Orlando Repertory Theatre tells the story of a young boy named Jonas, living with his family in a futuristic “utopian” society. The production is based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel by Lois Lowry and complements the county’s eighth grade social studies curriculum.
“I am thrilled the students are presented with this opportunity to enrich their learning experience, which serves to inspire creativity and build critical thinking skills through interaction with the arts,” said Bill Sublette, chairman of Orange County Public Schools.
Walt Disney World Resort has a longstanding commitment to not only support and further the arts within the Central Florida community but also spark the imagination of children, students and families.
“One of my fondest memories of growing up in Central Florida was attending a professional theatrical production and seeing the magic of the stage,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “This is a way to work with our community and provide students with an opportunity to appreciate the power of the performing arts..”
As an entertainment company with more than 74,000 Cast Members who live and work in Central Florida, Disney supports organizations that value the role of arts in the community. One of the earliest and largest investors in Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Disney pledged $12.5 million for the 2,700-seat, state-of-the-art Walt Disney Theater. In addition, Cast Members provide expertise to local arts organizations through pro bono work, assistance with community stage productions and arts workshops.
In 2015, Walt Disney World Resort donated more than $44 million in cash and in-kind support to Central Florida nonprofit organizations, as well as more than 250,000 volunteer hours through the efforts of Disney VoluntEARS.