JumpStart Theatre Cincinnati Graduates Nine Schools, Recruiting New Participants

A black female student dances onstage in a school musical performance.

On April 5, Cincinnati area JumpStart Theatre schools performed in the annual showcase at Taft Theatre, capping off a 2021-22 program year that was still marked by pandemic-related obstacles, but ultimately brightened by the return to live, in-person theatrical performances.

“Over the last few years, the schools have had tremendous challenges to meet,” said mentor Dee Anne Bryll. “All the teachersa re facing the challenges and bringing musicals to their students.”

JumpStart Theatre began in Cincinnati in 2015. After a successful pilot phase led by EdTA, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) took over the day-to-day operations of the Queen City’s program in 2018 and remounted it beginning in the 2019-20 school year.

A group of students in yellow t-shirts sits under a green archway while a soloist sings.After three years of education and support – including teacher bootcamps led by partner iTheatrics and free show licenses from partner Music Theatre International – participating schools “graduate.” Through the regional partnership with TCT, nine area schools have established ongoing musical theatre programs, making good on JumpStart Theatre’s purpose to create sustainable musical theatre programs in middle schools where there previously were none.

Seven of the nine Cincinnati graduates received extra support this school year in the form of “boost grants” made possible through generous support from The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation and an anonymous donor.

After ushering a full “class” of graduates through the program over the past four years, TCT is eager to continue with JumpStart Theatre, recruiting new schools and teachers to mentor – and changing even more students’ lives.

“Arts education is not a luxury,” says TCT education director Angelo Cerniglia. “It is an essential aspect of development that must be available to all, no matter the socioeconomic background. Our partnership allows TCT to continue our reach and relationships with our tri-state area schools and students.”

JumpStart Theatre currently operates in ten states through six regional partners. You can support the effort to create sustainable musical theatre programs by donating online.

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