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The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati Partners with Educational Theatre Foundation Bringing Theatre to Local Middle Schools

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival

The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) will partner with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) to entrust the management and administration of the nationally-recognized JumpStart Theatre program to the oldest theater for young audiences in the nation.

Cincinnati Childrens Theatre

The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), in collaboration with Music Theatre International and iTheatrics, developed and introduced the pilot for JumpStart Theatre in Cincinnati in 2015. 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.  They were then joined in June 2018 by Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. 

Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, TCT will oversee the day-to-day operations of the initiative that creates sustainable theatre arts programs in Cincinnati-area 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.

Kim Kern, Managing Director and CEO of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati said, “JumpStart Theatre is a natural extension of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s goal to fill the gap left by the reduction of arts education in schools, and to provide equitable access to the arts for all children.  As an established professional theater with a robust education department, TCT is equipped with the resources needed, and is absolutely thrilled to partner with the Educational Theatre Foundation and the Educational Theatre Association to ensure the continued success of this unique program locally.  A program that gives schools the tools they need to build a sustainable musical theatre program, while providing students with exposure to the arts and building life skills such as increased self-esteem and social skills.”

Julie Cohen Theobald, president of the Educational Theatre Foundation said, “When I walked into The Children’s Theatre, I saw on the lobby wall their credo: ‘Awakening a lifelong love of theatre in children and the young at heart.’ This could not be a better description of the mission of Jumpstart Theatre, and we fully entrust TCT to carry it forward, continuing to make theatre education accessible in Cincinnati schools and communities.”

JumpStart Theatre is funded entirely by gifts and grants. The expansion within Cincinnati and TCT is made possible by a generous gift from Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as gifts from The Shubert Foundation, and others. 

Integral to the program, 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.


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