Three JumpStart teachers pose for a picture wearing masks at a recent boot camp day in Atlanta.

The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta is reviving the JumpStart Theatre program to the delight of students and educators who are largely back to in-person learning. As the Educational Theatre Foundation’s (ETF) regional partner in Atlanta, Alliance Theatre oversees teacher training for middle-school educators so that they can create a sustainable theatre program where there was none.

Think of JumpStart this way: schools chosen to participate in the JumpStart Theatre program receive three years of teacher training led by iTheatrics (who are the creators of intuitive teaching resources), financial support for the program from ETF, and cost-free licensing of shows for students to perform from Music Theatre International. Schools in the JumpStart Theatre program are in underserved districts and had no theatre program in place.

african american woman in dark t-shirt sitting in a chair smiling

For teachers, the workshops are called “boot camps” because the training is intensive and focused! While it may seem challenging, the outcomes are so worth the work. “We hope JumpStart will give our students a way to identify their talents and instill confidence in other parts of their lives as well, said Cheryl, a boot camp participant and teacher at Pointe South Middle School. “I have one student who struggles academically and yet at the first rehearsal she mastered everything! I’m encouraging her to continue with theatre in high school next year.”

Cheryl went on to explain that seeing her students thrive in theatre classes drives home the importance of having arts education in middle schools. Especially in her community where some students experience homelessness and struggle because parents are underemployed. Providing just the basics is a huge hurdle. Cheryl added, “[JumpStart Theatre] really helps our students. It gives them hope. They get so excited when they see themselves excelling at something, especially when they are not successful in the classroom.”

African american woman sitting at table with dark tshirt and light colored hair

And one last encouraging story comes from Brittney Lee, the performing arts coordinator at Clayton County Schools who says, “JumpStart Theatre provides teachers with the tools and the confidence to help their students excel in this new form of expressing themselves.”

Remember, you can join us in our mission to shape students’ lives through theatre education; JumpStart Theatre happens with help from people just like you!  ♦

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