The Educational Theatre Foundation is pleased to announce that three California high schools damaged by last year’s fires will receive grants to aid their recovery thanks to a grant funded by licensing agency Music Theatre International (MTI).
The 2018 wildfire season was the most destructive on record in California, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center. The MTI California Fire Relief Grants offers grants to high school and middle school theatre programs in California that were negatively impacted by wildfires in 2018.
Petaluma High School, impacted by the Camp Fire, will buy essential equipment. Drama teacher Jonathan Knox says the intense smoke required the closure of his school theatre for four of the six days scheduled for their fall production of Cinderella Waltz. The resulting loss in revenue was compounded on several levels since the Petaluma program is self-sustaining, with no revenue from any source but ticket sales. Losing two-thirds of the performances in 2018, Knox says, “has a heavy impact on our ability to produce other shows. The grant will enable us to purchase badly needed wireless mics that had already had been postponed due to the cost the fall production that, because of the smoke closures, were not replaced with ticket sales.” Grant awarded: $1,500
Malibu High School was impacted by the Woolsey Fire. They will use the funding to recoup their losses caused by having to reschedule and cancel performances. “When the fire raged over the 101 Freeway and down Kanan Road, we all feared that Malibu High School would be gone,” said theatre director Jodi Plaia. “Fortunately, there was only minor structural damage; however, the devastation continues to impact us. When the fire broke out we were a week away from opening Spring Awakening, ready to head into tech rehearsals. But tech would have to wait for another two-and-a-half months.”
ETF President Julie Cohen Theobald, said, “We are so grateful to generous donors and partners such as MTI who appreciate how having theatre in schools has a positive impact on the entire school and its community. These grants are in direct support of ETF’s mission to provide financial support where it is needed most.”
MTI President and CEO, Drew Cohen, said, “In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be a need for these grants, but these schools have demonstrated quite clearly why, in the real world, it is imperative for organizations to provide support when circumstances warrant. The theatre community prides itself on being there for one another and we are proud to work with ETF to be there for these schools and their students.”