JumpStart Theatre Update 42: An Early Christmas

By Ginny Butsch posted 01-07-2019 13:44


A program designed to build sustainable musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools that currently have none.

This is a series of monthly updates about the JumpStart Theatre pilot program launched in Cincinnati, Ohio. To view previous updates, click here

An Early Christmas for JumpStart Theatre Students

A group of 81 Cincinnati students and parents were treated to a complimentary performance of Santa Claus: The Musical at The Taft Theatre, courtesy of The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati, a regional JumpStart Theatre partner.


Clark Montessori students at the Taft Theatre.

For many of the students, it was their first time attending a professional production. Clark Montessori teacher, Mary Gibson, stated, "This theatre experience helped students see the power of not only acting on the stage but being part of an audience and enjoying the whole evening."

Roberts Academy also attended the production. Afterwards, they discussed the show and student Zaida exclaimed, "My favorite part was when all the actors were singing and when Santa Claus rode the sled. I loved the dancing part!"

RobertsatSantaClausTCT.jpgRoberts Academy students hold their show programs. 

JumpStart Theatre Breakfast

The third annual JumpStart Theatre Breakfast was held December 4 at The Center in Cincinnati to raise awareness, thank local supporters, and introduce The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati as the new regional partner. The highlights of the event were the poignant stories and encouraging reports from those whose lives have been changed by experiencing theatre, matched by exciting details of the expansion into five regions. After the formal program, many lingered to chat with JumpStart Theatre teachers and staff to learn more or brainstorm ideas about getting involved. Everyone departed feeling excited for new opportunities and reenergized to start their day.


Julie Theobald with JumpStart Theatre sponsors (L-R), Phil Diciero (Benefits Network Insurance), Jim Miller, and Patrick Frambes (Barnes Dennig)

Rebecca Stutzman, Roberts Academy, outlines JumpStart Theatre's impact on her students

Julie with Roderick Justice, Artistic Director, and Scott Stubbins, Board Chair, of The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati

Rehearsals Underway

Now that rehearsals are beginning, regular reports from the JumpStart Theatre mentors have started to arrive. Overall, teachers are embracing the skills they've learned during the bootcamps and doing a great job keeping everyone engaged. 

A challenge many schools are facing currently involves vocal projection, but mentor Becca Kloha Strand had the perfect activity to help students improve. "Put the students in two lines facing each other and give each student a line. Ask each student to say their line, then have both students take one step back. Repeat until the students are very far away from each other, but can still hear and be understood." With sage coaching from their mentors, all of the JumpStart Theatre schools are on track to produce an engaging educational experience for all of their students.

Preparation + Confidence = Fun

Cross Keys Middle School in Missouri has a stellar team of JumpStart Theatre teachers who are working hard to make sure their students feel prepared and confident when they audition for Once on This Island JR. On the school's news blog, choir teacher and JumpStart Theatre teacher, Talya Perry stated, "This is a dream come true. I hope that our kids grow, have fun, and that they discover the possibilities in the arts, not just on stage, but behind stage also. I know, first-hand, that the arts can be very beneficial for students. This grant will jump start our theatre program by providing us with the training and resources needed to put on quality productions at CKMS." The photos shared give a clear example that the students are having a great time, and they haven't even been cast yet! CrossKeysGroup.jpgckcollage.jpg

JumpStart Theatre Applications for 2019-2020 

Could you help identify the next JumpStart Theatre schools? Applications for the 2019-2020 school year  are currently being accepted, or will open soon, in:

If you know a middle school near one of these cities that needs a musical theatre program, please forward this information.

2018-2019 JumpStart Theatre Performances


Thanks to all of our partners and supporters on JumpStart Theatre:

All of the individual donors