NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt has donated generously to the Educational Theatre Association’s JumpStart Theatre program. With a mission to create sustainable musical theatre programs in schools where there previously were none, the initiative equips non-theatre teachers with the skills and resources to produce their school’s first musical.
The announcement was made today at the Thespians Go Hollywood benefit cabaret in Los Angeles.
JumpStart Theatre, which employs a combination of hands-on mentoring and boot-camp style training, was developed in partnership with Music Theater International and iTheatrics and piloted in Cincinnati. As a result of Greenblatt’s gift, the initiative, initially launched as a pilot program, will now have the resources to have national impact.
The program will be expanded next to St. Louis and San Diego through partnerships with Stages St. Louis and the La Jolla Playhouse.
“I’m extremely proud to be getting in on JumpStart Theatre from the ground floor. As someone whose life was fundamentally enriched by a robust theatre program in my high school in Rockford, Illinois, I believe that bringing theatre to young people in as many schools as possible is vital,” says Greenblatt. “We know the powerful social and developmental benefits that kids get from the arts, and it’s up to us to fill in the gaps as public and government funding becomes more scarce. I can’t imagine how different my life and career would be had I not grown up with theatre and music, and if I can help bring that to other kids across the country nothing would make me happier. I hope my gift will encourage other theatre and television professionals, or anyone who values young kids having access to the arts, to join me in supporting this great program.”
In addition to the NBC Chairman’s donation, JumpStart Theatre also recently received a grant from the Shubert Foundation to help support its expansion.
The Educational Theatre Association is an international association with approximately 125,000 active members. EdTA is home of the International Thespian Society, which has inducted more than 2.3 million students since its founding in 1929. The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) is the newly established fundraising arm of EdTA.
For more information on EdTA, visit SchoolTheatre.org.