Young people from around the United States—many of whom have never seen a Broadway show—can share in the experience of live theatre thanks to a host of organizations that are bringing Broadway to them.
Through musical theatre training programs, scholarship and grant opportunities, grassroots fundraising initiatives and full classroom experiences, we highlight the work of 9 organizations that make high-quality live theatre accessible to K-12th grade students.
The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), in collaboration with NYC-based companies iTheatrics and Music Theatre International (MTI), created JumpStart Theatre, a three-year program which builds sustainable musical theatre programs where none previously existed. JumpStart Theatre equips non-theatre teachers with the skills and resources to produce their school’s first musical through a proven combination of hands-on mentoring and boot-camp style training. The program aims to engage as many students as possible in all aspects of theatre, preparing them for high school, college, and the workforce by instilling 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, problem solving, and creativity; as well as provide a practical and effective path to implementation in underserved middle schools nationwide. It has been run as a pilot in Cincinnati, and EdTA recently announced it will be expanded in 2018 to St. Louis and San Diego through partnerships with STAGES St. Louis and the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California. EdTA is developing a nationwide support structure of funding, advocacy, and leadership for the JumpStart Theatre expansion, with leadership support from Robert Greenblatt (Chairman, NBC Entertainment) and The Shubert Foundation. For more information, please visit educationaltheatrefoundation.org/jumpstart-theatre/.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Students across the country emulate their favorite Broadway stars by joining Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS to create change nationwide and within their communities. Whether they’re holding Broadway Cares’ iconic red buckets to accept donations after school performances or hosting cabarets, these young artists are at the forefront of activism within their schools. Bringing students together in these unique ways outside the classroom provides the cast and crew a common cause that creates a culture of philanthropy and encourages them to collaborate in new ways. The money raised provides those in need with lifesaving medications, nutritious meals, emergency assistance, and more. Get involved and make a difference. For more information, please visit broadwaycares.org/education-outreach/.
The Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge
The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is a national competition for high school students who have a passion for writing songs that could be part of a musical theatre production. The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge offers six finalists mentorship opportunities with professional songwriters and musicians and the opportunity to have an original song performed by those musicians. Finalists will also receive scholarship awards and more. Applications are due January 5, 2018 with one more month left to apply! Finalists will be announced in February 2018 and the national competition will take place in New York City in April 2018. The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts partnering with the American Theatre Wing and in collaboration with Playbill, Inc. and Disney Theatrical Productions. For more information on The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge please visit arts.gov/partnerships/songwriting.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative
With seed funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the American Theatre Wing is committed to fostering a future generation of theatre makers that reflects the diversity and dynamism of America as a whole, creating opportunities for drama education for under-resourced schools and students. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative has three components: grants to help under-resourced schools expand their drama education programs, scholarships for middle and high school students (grades 6-11) to pursue after school training and summer study programs, and university scholarships for high-need high school seniors (grade 12) pursuing undergraduate degrees in theatre. The student’s area of focus can be from any aspect of theatre, from performance to design to writing to stage management, and others. Grant and scholarship recipients may apply online and are selected by an expert panel, who prioritize high-need students who represent diversity. Applications are currently being accepted for both Training and University Scholarships with deadlines in January 2018. For more information, please visit: americantheatrewing.org/program/the-andrew-lloyd-webber-initiative/.
Disney Musicals in Schools
Disney Musicals in Schools is a free outreach program offered to a limited number of public elementary schools each year through select arts organizations across the country. Schools within the program receive free performance rights and ShowKit materials to a 30-minute Disney musical that has been written for elementary school performers. Over the course of a semester, selected schools work with professional Teaching Artists that help guide teachers through the process of producing a musical to help build sustainable programs for the future. To learn more about Disney Musicals in Schools and to find a program in your area, please visit: disneymusicalsinschools.com.
Hamilton Education Program
In a joint partnership with Hamilton and The Gilder Lehrman Institute, and made possible through a grant by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Hamilton Education Program (EDUHam) mission is to integrate Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Era into classroom studies. The Hamilton Education Program, which started in 2015, is part of the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s broader mission to improve the teaching and learning of American History. EduHam is available to Title I schools in New York City, Chicago, Los Angles, and cities that will take part in the Hamilton National Tour. Before seeing the show, teachers guide students through a unique curriculum offering hands-on class projects that introduce students to the people, events, and documents of the Founding Era while also learning how Lin-Manuel Miranda created Hamilton. For the 2017-2018 academic year, schools participating in the EDUHam program will travel to the Richard Rodgers Theatre for one of thirteen scheduled Wednesday matinee student days. Before the show, all students must have completed a final project that culminates in a performance piece. Schools will submit their best student protects that may be chosen to be performed on stage in front of other students and members of the Hamilton cast. For more information on the Hamilton Education Program please visit: gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/hamilton.
ArtsConnection Teen Program’s Art2Art is a unique exhibition opportunity for visual artists attending New York City public high schools to experience and draw creativity from a live theatre piece. Through Art2Art's collaboration with the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, teens meet fellow teen artists and engage in an in-depth theatre and visual arts workshop, led by professional teaching artists, at which they explore themes from the musical. Later on, the participants attend a performance of Dear Evan Hansen and engage in a talkback with members of the cast and creative team. The teens then create a visual art piece in response to their personal experience of seeing the musical. Their art is exhibited in the backstage of the Music Box Theatre as well as an online gallery. For more information on ART2ART please visit: teens.artsconnection.org/art2art/.
Inside Broadway provides opportunities for New York City public school students to experience live theatre. Each year this remarkable non-profit serves over 80,000 students from 100 schools throughout the five boroughs through theatre arts workshops and live Broadway performances. Through its in-depth in-school programs from musical, dance, folktale, Shakespeare, playwriting and immigration through song, to its full build a musical after-school programs, children learn and participate in every element of live theatre as well as being able to perform in a culminating event for their community. Each year Inside Broadway also mounts an Equity TYA production that travels the 5 boroughs to students across New York City. This year’s production is “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”. All schools who participate in any of our programs are invited to attend, free of charge, our unique Creating The Magic Program. This one-of-a-kind 75-minute seminar is partnered with a participating Broadway show and showcases all viable careers, on stage and off, to the audience while featuring live demonstrations and performances from that show. For more information on Inside Broadway please visit: insidebroadway.org.
CAMP BROADWAY is a commercial theatre industry leader in audience engagement and a trusted source for parents and teachers seeking quality year-round enrichment programs, experiential events and educational workshops. Founded in 1995 as Broadway’s “original” summer camp, Camp Broadway has been devoted to making theatre arts an accessible and relevant vehicle for creative children to build confidence, hone presentation skills and discover their unique talents at every stage of their lives. The company’s portfolio of age-appropriate programs includes Shining Stars (age 6-9), Camp Broadway (age 10-13, 14-17) and Next Step (14-18). Every year, thousands of children and students from around the world travel to New York City to attend Camp Broadway’s annual musical theatre camp on Broadway or participate a wide variety of pre-show master class workshops offered to enhance their theatregoing at many Broadway shows. Direct from Broadway, Camp Broadway’s touring camp is presented by partner theatres in Atlanta, Buffalo, Greenville, Hartford, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Miami, Pittsburgh, Providence, San Antonio, Tempe and Westhampton Beach. To learn more about Camp Broadway, please visit: campbroadway.com.
Visit playbill.com/education for more information.