The Hanover Theatre Inspires Change with Adopt-A-School Program

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The Hanover Theatre partnered with the national Broadway touring production of Memphis the Musical and South High as part of the Adopt-A-School program. The six intensive weeks included a curriculum comprised of Memphis themes.

South High Students perform Memphis finale

South High students perform Memphis finale Photo Credit: Andrea Seward

Over a period of six intensive weeks, all South High students participated in lessons within each subject that incorporated Memphis’ themes, historical and sociological elements, artistic aspects and musical score.

The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts partnered with the national tour of Memphis The Musical and South High School as part of the pilot Adopt-A-School Program.

As The Hanover Theatre's organization seeks innovative ways to fulfill their mission of fostering a love and appreciation for the performing arts in audiences of today and tomorrow, the educational guide provided by Memphis The Musical presented the perfect opportunity to collaborate with school administrators and teachers on a curriculum based program.

Over a period of six intensive weeks, all South High students participated in lessons within each subject that incorporated Memphis’ themes, historical and sociological elements, artistic aspects and musical score.

“This project is a perfect example of how much Worcester cares about students and investing in their success," said The Hanover Theatre's director of education and operations, Meghan Patrick. "When I approached Maureen Binienda (principal of South High) with this idea for a school-wide arts experience, we knew it was going to be a lot of work. What has impressed me so much has been the collaboration of all parties involved. Jen Agbay of Ballet Arts Worcester did not hesitate to offer her time and talent to teach students the Memphis choreography. In addition, Steve O’Neil from the WRTA was incredibly receptive to our idea of allowing students to ride the buses for free on November 2 and 3. Without the WRTA’s support, many students would have been unable to get to the theatre and the shared experience would have been lost. Although we had only a couple months to execute this project, the faculty at South High jumped in feet first and we are blown away with their enthusiasm for integrating “Memphis” into their curriculum. This is truly a city-wide project and a true reflection of our ability to come together when it matters most."

"This has been an amazing opportunity for South High," said principal, Maureen Binienda. "The work the teachers have implemented to integrate Memphis into every curriculum shows the highest level of commitment and collaboration, the help of the community to support us – WRTA transporting our students, dance teacher Jennifer Agbay teaching our students the finale dance, and The Hanover Theatre’s faith in our students and teachers to involve 1,200 students in this performance will forever be remembered as one of the great events in our lives."

Patrons attending Memphis The Musical at The Hanover Theatre this weekend will also notice several displays featuring South High students' work related to this project, including poetry and an art installation.

This new initiative is made possible in party by the Access to the Arts Fund. Contributions made to the Access to the Arts Fund support educational and outreach programs, including The Hanover Theatre’s Student Critic Program, Youth Summer Program, scholarships, and internships. Learn more at

About The Hanover Theatre
The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, located in downtown Worcester, New England’s second largest city, is recognized by Pollstar as one of the Top 50 Theatres in the World. After undergoing many name changes and renovations over the decades since its 1926 birth, The Hanover Theatre reopened in March 2008 following a $32 million historic restoration. Since then, the theatre has established its place as a rich entertainment and cultural venue, winning numerous awards, including The National Trust for Historic Preservation Award in 2010. Now in its sixth season, The Hanover Theatre continues to expose over 170,000 annual patrons to world-class entertainment in the form of Broadway, concerts, comedians and much more. For more information, visit Worcester Center for the Performing Arts, a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, owns and operates The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

About South High School
South High, located in downtown Worcester, has a student population of 1,300 individuals from 70 different countries. The students have many needs (80% of the student population qualifies as low income) and The Hanover Theatre's volunteers took a leadership role in reaching out and supporting the high school students in this neighborhood over the last few years, especially through donations to South High’s food pantry.

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