Three years after piloting JumpStart Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Educational Theatre Association will expand the middle school-oriented initiative in the Queen City. The Educational Theatre Foundation (EdTA’s fundraising arm) is partnering with the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati—the oldest theatre for young audiences in the U.S.—to bolster the national program, which aims to build theatre programs in schools that previously had none.
Selected middle schools, determined by an application process, receive funds, materials, and training to produce their first full-scale musical production; support continues for three years as the schools prepare to self-sustain the theatre programs. From the pilot run, Cincinnati’s Gamble Montessori and Finneytown Middle School have completed their three-year training and now run their own musical theatre programs.
The Children’s Theatre (TCT) will oversee the day-to-day operations of the program beginning in the 2019–2020 school year.
“JumpStart Theatre is a natural extension of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s goal to fill the gap left by the reduction of arts education in schools, and to provide equitable access to the arts for all children,” said TCT Managing Director and CEO Kim Kern in a statement.
ETF President Julie Cohen Theobald agrees, adding, “When I walked into The Children’s Theatre, I saw on the lobby wall their credo: ‘Awakening a lifelong love of theatre in children and the young at heart.’ This could not be a better description of the mission of Jumpstart Theatre, and we fully entrust TCT to carry it forward.”
JumpStart Theatre, developed in partnership with Music Theatre International and iTheatrics and funded entirely by gifts and grants, is currently implemented in San Diego and St. Louis. It is slated to launch in Atlanta in the 2019–2020, as well as an additional city with support from Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller.