The JumpStart Theatre program creates sustainable theatre arts programs in middle schools where there previously were none. Participant schools are chosen through a rigorous application process and receive materials, budget, and training support to produce their first full-scale musical production. The support continues for three years until the program becomes self-sustaining. Non-theatre teachers are equipped with skills and resources to produce their school’s first musical through a proven combination of boot-camp style training and hands-on mentoring.
JumpStart Theatre is funded entirely by gifts and grants. The expansion to Atlanta and the Alliance Theatre is made possible by a generous gift from Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as gifts from The Shubert Foundation, and others.
“The opportunity to support our middle school teachers and help them build a sustainable theatre program is thrilling,” said Christopher Moses, Alliance Theatre Dan Reardon Director of Education and Associate Artistic Director. “JumpStart Theatre has a demonstrated track record of building capacity among those new to the art form, and I’m beyond delighted that some of metro Atlanta’s public schools can now share in this success.”
Julie Cohen Theobald, president of the Educational Theatre Foundation said, “The Alliance Theatre is an ideal partner for JumpStart Theatre. Their education offerings are vast and impressive, and their mission fits perfectly with our vision to bring theatre to every student.”
In 2015 in collaboration with Music Theatre International and iTheatrics, EdTA introduced the pilot for JumpStart Theatre in Cincinnati. In November 2017, STAGES St. Louis and La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California, were announced as the first two partner theatres, initiating the national expansion of the JumpStart Theatre program.
Integral to the pilot is research being conducted by the Centers for Research on Creativity to measure the impact of the program on student development in nine areas. Preliminary results (Capturing Student and Teacher Creative Growth through the After-School JumpStart Theatre Program, Year Two Report, 2017) indicate students demonstrate improved confidence, creativity, resiliency, responsibility, collaboration, and sense of community. Another finding shows similar benefits for the participating educators as well.