Willa J. Taylor is the Walter Director of Education and Engagement at Goodman Theatre.
Willa J. Taylor is the Walter Director of Education and Engagement at Goodman Theatre.
(© photo provided by Goodman Theatre)

Goodman Theatre will expand its education programming into elementary schools with a $100,000 grant from Disney to bring the Disney Musicals in Schools program to the Chicago area.

The program is an outreach initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Productions to create sustainable theater programs in under-resourced elementary schools. The grant funds two years of programming. Goodman Theatre's Walter Director of Education and Engagement, Willa J. Taylor, will select five area public elementary schools to participate in spring 2018, and another five will be selected for the following year.

The selected schools will participate in a 17-week musical theater residency, led by a team of teaching artists trained by the Goodman and Disney Theatrical Productions, at no cost. Each school will receive performance rights, education support materials and guidance from the teaching artists. The program features a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partner with Goodman teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph, and music direct, culminating in their first 30-minute Disney musical at their school.