JumpStart Theatre will train educators to develop sustainable musical theatre programs at underserved middle schools that do not currently offer theatre in the curriculum or after school.
JumpStart will conduct a pilot program in three Cincinnati area middle schools during the 2015-16 school year and will then expand the program on a national level. All Cincinnati metro-area middle schools may apply to participate in JumpStart Theatre through Feb. 23 at SchoolTheatre.org/JumpStartTheatre. Selected schools will be announced in the spring and will begin implementing the program in their school in fall 2015.
Tony Award nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (A Christmas Story, Dogfight, James and the Giant Peach), Megan Hilty (Wicked, "Smash"), Darren Criss ("Glee"), Disney Theatrical Group president and producer Thomas Schumacher and animator Andreas Deja helped raise $6,020 for the program by signing items for auction during the recent Junior Theater Festival, an annual event held in Atlanta, GA.
A designated teacher will lead the JumpStart school program using tools and resources provided by EdTA, including workshops led by nationally recognized master teachers in theatre education, dedicated program managers, access to a library of MTI's Broadway Junior musicals and a budget for the technical elements of the production such as costumes and props.
Selected schools make a three-year commitment. Each school will receive services and materials valued at $12,000 annually in the form of training, mentoring and producing a full-scale show for their community. Students will be involved in every aspect of the production: performance, costumes, sets and design. EdTA will also host a yearly JumpStart Theatre showcase, bringing participants together to share their work. JumpStart Theatre has already received a starter grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
Additional donations to the program may be made to SchoolTheatre.org/Donate or via check at Educational Theatre Association: JumpStart Theatre Campaign, 2343 Auburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45219 (make a note on the check that it is going to JumpStart).