Educational Theatre Foundation and Music Theatre International Award Grants to 3 High Schools Impacted by California Wildfires

Education News   Educational Theatre Foundation and Music Theatre International Award Grants to 3 High Schools Impacted by California Wildfires
The MTI California Fire Relief Grant provides $1,000 grants to school theatre programs in the wake of the 2018 wildfire season.

Petaluma High School, Chico's Paradise Intermediate School, and Malibu High School will be awarded $1,000 grants through the Music Theatre International (MTI) Fire Relief Grants, an initiative of the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF).

The grant was established in the wake of the most destructive wildfire season on record in California, according to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection adn the National Interagency Fire Center.

Students from Paradise Intermediate School in Chico
Students from Paradise Intermediate School in Chico

Paradise Intermediate plans to replace school iPads lost during an evacuation. "The iPads were being used for filming our productions and using apps to edit," shares drama teacher Heather Brown. "On the morning of the fire, they were unlocked and resting on the counter waiting for drama students to film their planned-out skits. We evacuated the school that morning. Those iPads haven’t been seen since."

Petaluma High School will use the grants to buy essential equipment including wireless mics after the Camp Fire forced drama teacher Jonathan Knox to close his school theatre for four of six scheduled performances of Cinderella Waltz. The loss of those ticket sales had "a heavy impact on our ability to produce other shows," Knox says.

Malibu High School, impacted by the Woolsey Fire, will use the grant to recoup losses incurred from rescheduled and cancelled performances. "When the fire broke out, we were a week away from opening Spring Awakening," says theatre director Jodi Plaia. That production ultimately was postponed by more than two months.

The Fire Relief Grant program continues, with applications still being accepted online.

The cast of <i>Spring Awakening</i> at Malibu High School in 2018
The cast of Spring Awakening at Malibu High School in 2018

"We are so grateful to generous donors and partners such as MTI who appreciate how having theatre in schools has a positive impact on the entire school and its community," says ETF President Julie Cohen Theobald. "These grants are in direct support of ETF's mission to provide financial support where it is needed most."

"In a perfect world, there wouldn't be a need for these grants, but these schools have demonstrated quite clearly why, in the real world, it is imperative for organizations to provide support when circumstances warrant," shares MTI President and CEO Drew Cohen. "The theatre community prides itself on being there for one another and we are proud to work with ETF to be there for these schools and their students."

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