Tomorrow, while the rest of North Texas will be stuck in a giant traffic snarl caused by the official JFK ceremony in Dealey Plaza, Rachel Hull will be in Washington, D.C. picking up a cool $10,000 from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Hull is the director of education at the Dallas Theater Center. Since 1987, the DTC’s Project Discovery has transported thousands of schoolchildren to live stage productions while also providing them with educational materials and backstage access. That’s why it’s one of 13 groups — chosen from 50 finalists from around the country — being honored Friday at the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, part of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
More than 25 years ago, Adrian Hall, then the artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center, insisted that children be bused to the theater — that the DTC’s education program would not be another one where a handful of actors visited schools. No shortened, condescending, in-classroom performances. The students needed to experience going to the theater as part of the whole experience of live drama, and they needed to be exposed to full, professional productions.
It’s not a cheap proposition, transporting thousands of schoolkids to the theater, setting aside seats for them in season shows, but DTC continues to do it. And for that, Project Discovery deserves an award.
And you can catch Rachel in Washington, D.C. — via a live-feed of the awards ceremony tomorrow.