Town Hall Hosts Students for Black History Month
About 4,500 students, grades 3-8, from all the New York City boroughs will tap their feet and clap their hands to the beat of Urban Tap, at free performances at The Town Hall this month as part of its Black History Month presentation. Sponsored by Con Edison, the program marks the 10th annual cultural event that brings city children to the 86-year-old venue. After the golden age of Town Hall from 1920 to 1940, the Hall is experiencing a renaissance under the “batons” of President Marvin Leffler and Executive Director Lawrence Zucker. Through a world music and dance program, a “Helping Hands” program, and Theaterworks programs, record numbers of children have been attending programs at “Town Hall once again.
Students are encouraged, through lesson plans provided to teachers, to enter a poster and essay contest after attending the performance. The Town Hall selects five winners who receive cash prizes at a ceremony in the spring.
Founded in 1921 by a group of suffragettes, The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, offered lectures and sponsored public debates designed to educate voters. The many notable appearances include birth control advocate Margaret Sanger in 1921, actor Paul Robeson in 1927, Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1928, and singer Marian Anderson in 1935. In the 1950’s, the hall offered programs through a partnership with New York University. Throughout the next two decades, the hall continued to attract top name speakers and performers but faced financial difficulties, ceasing operations in 1978. The building received national historic landmark status in 1980 that sparked interest in reviving the hall as a performance venue. Thanks to the efforts of executive director Lawrence Zucker and the vision of Marvin Leffler, President of Town Hall, rental bookings fund-raising campaigns have increased. Renovations were completed by 1984 and the hall has since begun producing its own events. In 1998, the Town Hall Lab in Technical Theatre and Stagecraft was created to offer New York City high school students’ apprenticeship experiences in theater. The hall has expanded this initiative to include student internships and education outreach programs for middle and high school students.
Gary Greenberg, Project Arts Liaison, PS 241 Brooklyn said of the program, Town Hall provides a terrific opportunity for students who might never get inside a professional theater. The study guides are invaluable to help the teachers prepare students for the experience. The quality of the programs has been superb. We couldn’t do this without the generous corporate sponsorship.”#