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Hillsboro's Bag and Baggage Productions expands its Ten4One education program

Hillsboro's Bag and Baggage Productions has received a PGE Foundation grant to expand its Ten4One education program, which offers free tickets to its performances to students in Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Banks, Cornelius and Yamhill.

Through the program, a student need only visit the Venetian Theatre box office prior to a show and show their student ID in order to receive a free ticket. During the 2010-2011 season, Bag and Baggage provided more than 3,500 tickets to students.

With funding from the grant, Bag and Baggage has hired a part-time employee, actress Cassie Greer, to oversee and manage the program. Among Greer's duties is developing a curriculum packet to supplement students' experiences. The packets expand on the importance of the shows and of theater arts, putting them in the greater context of English, arts, history, social studies and more.

The goal is to reach 5,000 students next season.

Bag and Baggage artistic director Scott Palmer says the group's close ties with the community make Ten4One an essential part of its identity.

'There are kids who would never have the opportunity to see professional performing arts who live within 15 minutes of our theater,' Palmer notes. 'If we didn't do something like this, I would be ashamed. We have to.'

Palmer also stressed the importance of programs such as Ten4One in the face of school budgetary cuts. When school funding is reduced, the first thing typically given the ax is the arts.

'This is a way for us to give back to the education system that has given so much to us,' he says.

To learn more about the Ten4One education program or to inquire about free show tickets, visit www.bagnbaggage.org.

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