ETF created the Thespian Relief Fund in March 2020 to keep school theatre programs alive through the challenges of the pandemic. Schools can apply for grants to start or renew their Thespian troupe, and grants to pay for program costs such as equipment and show rights — focusing especially on Title I schools with significant BIPOC enrollment and rural schools with few supports.
The effort gained tremendous momentum in 2021, beginning with ETF’s first-ever virtual gala in January. Theatre Alive! showcased the creativity and resilience of theatre teachers and students to keep creating. Support from stars including Audra McDonald, Kenny Leon, Wayne Brady, Jennifer Hudson, and Samuel L. Jackson helped ETF raise funds and awareness.
By the end of 2021, ETF had issued $161,000 in Thespian Relief Grants to 186 schools, impacting more than 18,000 students.
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