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The Wilma Theater Welcomes Area Students to Nov. 4 Performance; Student Enrichment Program Presenting Athol Fugard’s Coming Home to Philadelphia Youth sponsored by PNC Arts Alive

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For November 4, 2009

The Wilma Theater Welcomes Area Students to Nov. 4 Performance;

Student Enrichment Program Presenting Athol Fugard’s Coming Home to Philadelphia Youth sponsored by PNC Arts Alive

WHAT: Special student matinee performance of Coming Home

WHO: Philadelphia middle and high school students, cast of Coming Home including two local youth actors along with professional actors, The Wilma Theater staff, PNC Arts Alive representatives

WHEN: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 9:30 a.m. – Students arrive

10:00 a.m. – Performance begins

12:30 p.m. – Q&A with students and members of the cast and artistic team

Members of the press are welcome before, during and after the performance.

WHERE: The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St, Philadelphia

INFO: The Wilma Theater will welcome area middle and high school students to its latest production, Coming Home by internationally acclaimed playwright Athol Fugard, on Wednesday, November 4 at 10:00 a.m.  The special student matinee kicks off a program funded by PNC Arts Alive, which provides student tickets at a reduced rate and offers students an in-depth look at the Wilma’s productions through pre- and post- show discussions and workshops relating to the plays in the company’s season.

Two area students will also appear onstage.  For Coming Home, director Blanka Zizka has cast two young actors in the role of Mannetjie – 10-year-old Antonio J. Dandridge of Cherry Hill, NJ and 9-year-old Elijah Felder of North Philadelphia.

Schools attending the matinee include: Abington Friends School, Bartram High School, Constitution High School, Fitzsimmons Young Men's Leadership Academy, Meade Gen George Charter School, Strawberry Mansion High School, South Philly High, and T.M. Pierce Elementary School.

Students attending the Coming Home matinee participate in either the Wilma’s Wilmagination or Wilma Classroom educational program. Wilmagination is a successful decade-long, residency based student educational outreach program in Philadelphia public schools.  The program is designed to increase literacy through interactive and creatively engaging theatrical techniques.  Through Wilmagination, students study a play in class, attend a performance of it at the Wilma on fully subsidized tickets, and write their own pieces inspired by the play’s themes and theatrical styles.  Wilma Classroom is a program designed to encourage local educators to incorporate Wilma productions into their high school and college curricula by providing educator guides, as well as pre- and post-show discussions to facilitate curricular connections.

A post-show discussion will begin in the theater at 12:30 p.m. immediately following the performance, with an opportunity for students to have a Q&A with members of the cast and artistic team.

In his latest play, Fugard, described as “the greatest active playwright in the English-speaking world” by TIME Magazine, crafts a moving tale of a young South African woman’s never-ending hope for a better future. As a teenager, Veronica left her cherished grandfather's farm with aspirations of becoming a cabaret singer in Cape Town. Years later, she returns to her hometown with broken dreams, a painful secret, and the unflinching hope of building a new life for her young son.

Coming Home at the Wilma runs through November 15, 2009. Tickets are available at the Wilma Box Office by calling (215) 546-7824, visiting 265 South Broad Street, or online at www.wilmatheater.org

Reduced ticket pricing for students is made possible by PNC Arts Alive, a five-year, $5 million investment from The PNC Foundation with the goal to increase engagement in the visual and performing arts, develop new audiences and make the arts more accessible to diverse communities in the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region.  In advance, students can save 50% off full-priced tickets (excludes Opening and Saturday nights) and purchase $10 tickets for Sunday evening performances.  Tickets for same day performances can be purchased for $10 at the Box Office. Tickets are subject to availability; valid student ID is required; limit one ticket per ID.