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Important note: the following recommendation was approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 6, 2017:


DISTRICT 2 (Supervisor Carole Groom) FY 2016-17 Request

One-Time Grant of $5,000 in Measure K Funds to Hillbarn Theater

This is a request to authorize an agreement with Hillbarn Theater for the term June 6, 2017, through September 30, 2017 in an amount not to exceed $5,000 to provide for summer camp programs for Foster City and other San Mateo County youth whose families seek need-based scholarships. The proposed agreement will be administered and managed by the County Manager’s Office.

Hillbarn Theater will use the funds to underwrite its 17-year-old Conservatory Program, a robust, comprehensive, year-round program now serving over 500 kids annually. Launched in 2003 as a summer pilot program with 50 children, the Conservatory Program has expanded substantially since then.

For 8 weeks every summer, Hillbarn Theater focuses all its attention on the community’s youth. It offers 3 show camps for elementary, middle, and high school students and two mini-show camps for kids ages 4-6 and 6-8. Last summer saw the largest camp enrollment in Hillbarn’s history with all camps meeting or exceeding capacity. 279 kids received training in a variety of performing arts disciplines – acting, singing, dancing, and technical theater – and performed in live productions on Hillbarn’s MainStage. Enrollment for this summer is outpacing last year.

Additionally, 50+ students annually enjoy Hillbarn Camp Keff through the Peninsula Jewish Community Center summer youth programs.

Local schools no longer have the funding, time, or trained staff to meet the California State Standards for the Visual and Performing Arts. Hillbarn’s Conservatory progams fill the gaps and/or extend programs offered in the San Mateo-Foster City School District (SMFCSD) and the San Mateo Unified High School District (SMUHSD) by providing programs aligned with the following standards: artistic perception, creative expression, historical and cultural context, aesthetic valuing, and connections, relationships, and applications.

Students benefit from the expertise of trainer teachers, professional actors, dancers, singers, and musicians as well as the Hillbarn technical crew who builds sets, props, and costumes alongside trainees in the program.

As Hillbarn concludes its 76th season of producing live theater on its MainStage and 17 years providing unique youth Conservatory performance and engagement programs to students, there are more and more families applying for need-based scholarships. The Measure K funds awarded by this agreement will significantly expand the organization’s capacity to meet the needs of enthusiastic youth participants in need of financial aid.

Since 1941, the historic Hillbarn Theater has served the San Francisco Bay Area mid-peninsula communities by embracing its founding ideal: “To create theater with the community, for the community, striving always for excellence in production and education.” On either side of the footlights, those involved represent a diversity of age, culture, ethnicity, life experience, and a strong appreciation for the importance of the arts. Hillbarn is now the 6th oldest community theater in the United States, lauded for its top-draw theater arts education programs and award-winning, artistically excellent productions presented in a 179-seat intimate setting in a building it owns.

This year Hillbarn is looking at a total of 10 children who will need scholarships. The total in scholarship funding requested is $11,885. The $5,000 in Measure K funds will go towards Hillbarn’s scholarship program and will cover as many students as possible out of the scholarship amount listed above. Each scholarship will cover approximately 70-75% of the enrollment.

Hillbarn asks for financial information from the families that request aid, and a letter from the child about why she or he would like to come to the Conservatory Program. Hillbarn retains these packets for financial aid documentation. The price reduction is based off the parent financial request.

The contact at Hillbarn Theatre is Dan Demers, the Executive Artistic Director. His phone number is 650-349-6411 x303 and his email address is

Total request: $5,000

The funds are to be disbursed to Hillbarn Theater for these purposes.

The release of funds will be contingent on the execution of an agreement providing for the County’s confirmation of the expenditure of funds during FY 2017-18 for the purposes stated herein.

Important note: this is a copy of the official Board report.