Kevin Spacey Foundation Trains Emerging Talent

Actor-producer skeds D.C. dinner as fundraiser and tribute to his old friend and mentor, Jack Lemmon

Kevin Spacey is sending the elevator back down.

Three years ago the actor-producer created the Kevin Spacey Foundation to train emerging talent in the performing arts. The foundation enlists experienced mentors and provides scholarships and grants for arts, education and creative pursuits.

Spacey will hold a private dinner Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C., to introduce and raise funds for the nonprofit. The evening also supports the local charity Only Make Believe, which provides interactive theater for hospitalized children.

Spacey will perform with a local youth jazz band at the event, which will feature a tribute to Jack Lemmon, whom the multihyphenate considers his mentor.

As part of the foundation’s inaugural project, Richard’s Rampage, Spacey conducted acting workshops while touring worldwide in 2011 and 2012 for Sam Mendes’ adaptation of “Richard III.” His team worked with nearly 800 students and aspiring talents in Doha, Singapore, Hong Kong and Istanbul, among other cities. Spacey chose one young actor from each city to join him onstage for a Shakespeare montage.

“If you’re someone who wants to be (an actor, writer, director or producer), in many cases, there’s nowhere to begin in a lot of these regions,” Spacey says. “It’s kind of an exciting thing to go somewhere where English isn’t necessarily the first language, but to use the tools and the artifice of theater as a way in which to help young people learn how to collaborate.”

To help foster arts education, the foundation gave six students a full ride to Regent’s U. in London this year, and it hopes to increase that number soon to 16.

It was with Lemmon’s advice in mind that Spacey launched his foundation in 2010: “He always used to say that if you do well in the business you wanted to do well in, then it’s your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.”

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