The Santa Monica Playhouse Diversity-in-Education Program has been awarded a grant from the City of Santa Monica Community Arts Grant Program, a project of the Santa Monica Arts Commission.

The grant will support the Schools Theater Field Trip program for spring and fall 2007, in which 1,000 students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will participate in interactive professional musical productions, pre-show theater arts preparation, post-show talks, language arts workshops and hands-on behind-the-scenes lessons in lighting, costume and makeup.

Interested district schools should contact Santa Monica Playhouse for scheduling information. The theater is at 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica.

Field trips are designed to excite the imagination, offer practical study skills and augment the State of California’s visual and performing arts standards and standards in English, theater and reading, says a Santa Monica Playhouse spokesman.

Santa Monica Playhouse is one of ten city arts organizations certified by the California Arts Council Smarts Arts in Schools and Demonstration Project to teach arts in the school district.

“We offer a highly innovative theater field trip program in which professional performers present original musical adaptations of familiar classics that nurture youngsters away from narrow, stereotypical conclusions empowering them to make their own choices through the use of the imagination and direct experience,” said Cammy Truong, Santa Monica Playhouse director of education.

“In an explosion of imaginative and creative participation, youngsters jump from the familiar to the fantastical, exploring the social and moral issues they are confronted with daily,” Truong says.

LaShawn Moore, a Santa Monica-based McKinley Elementary School teacher, said many of his students had been to movie theaters many times but not to a live theater production and called Playhouse’s program a “rich opportunity.”

The Playhouse has been providing theater-in-education programs to economically disadvantaged students since its Diversity- in-Education Program began in 1969, says a spokesman.

In addition to this program, Santa Monica Playhouse also provides after-school theater programs at its arts complex and at the schools.

In order to fill the large number of requests for school programming and to fulfill its Diversity-in-Education mandate, the Playhouse is soliciting additional funding from private foundations, corporations and the general public.

Information, Truong, (310) 394-9779 ext. 673, or e-mail theatre@SantaMonicaPlay