JumpStart Theatre Update 43: Leading by Example

By Ginny Butsch posted 02-07-2019 13:50


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

Congratulations, MCCA!

Earlier this month at the Junior Theater Festival East, Playbill announced that JumpStart Theatre's newest regional partner, Mountain City Center for the Arts (MCCA) had received their 2019 Community Service Award.

Additionally, current MCCA students were so moved by the idea of bringing theatre to students who were not able to experience it, that they raised $3000 to donate to JumpStart Theatre! With such enthusiasm for providing local community support, it will be thrilling to watch the JumpStart Theatre schools flourish under MCCA's guidance. 

Applications for 2019-2020

Applications for the next JumpStart Theatre schools are currently being accepted in:

·     Frostburg, Maryland (open through January 31)

·     Cincinnati, Ohio (open now through February 15)

·     St. Louis, Missouri (open now through February 15)

·     San Diego, California (open now through February 22)

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

Atlanta’s application process closed last month and they are gearing up to interview their top five applicants to be selected for their first class of three JumpStart Theatre schools. During the interview, they will be looking forward to meeting the teachers who plan to lead the program, gauging administrator support, and making sure all participants have a clear understanding of the requirements and responsibilities involved in producing a musical for the first time.

Technical Theatre Help from the Community

Oyler School in Cincinnati is currently in its second year of JumpStart Theatre and the teachers were curious to learn more about sound equipment. They were considering purchasing equipment but weren’t sure what they would need in their space. Mentor Dee Anne Bryll connected the teachers with Denny Reed, the Lighting and Sound Designer from Cincinnati Landmark Productions (CLP), to seek advice and counsel. Denny was thrilled to be able to help and continue to build the CLP relationship with the school (last year CLP invited Oyler to a dress rehearsal of Annie). Denny helped the Oyler teachers come up with a plan to help address their sound questions. 

Leading by Example

Over the holiday break, Liz Davis (l) from Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre traveled to San Diego and arranged to meet with Lydia Real (r) from La Jolla Playhouse (LJP). The two JumpStart Theatre regional partners shared best practices and lessons learned from La Jolla’s first year of implementation. One specific piece of advice Lydia shared with Liz was to maintain clear communication with school partners. Julia Cuppy from LJP will be returning the favor by visiting with Alliance Theatre during a visit to Atlanta in May. It’s exciting to see JST regional partners leading by example and following best practices by creating a community of support with fellow program members.

Training Continues

The third and final bootcamp of the school year for Cincinnati schools was held earlier this month. Teachers learned new warm-ups and wrap-ups, ways to liven up their choreography by adding props, and how to organize their tech week, among other useful lessons. For Aiken New Tech High School, Felicity-Franklin Middle School, and Dater High School, this was their last bootcamp before graduation from the JumpStart Theatre program and they shared their appreciation for the education, encouragement, and support provided during the last three years.

ETF, in collaboration with New York City-based companies iTheatrics and Music Theatre International (MTI) has created JumpStart Theatre, a three-year scalable program
designed to build sustainable musical theatre programs in underserved schools that previously had none.

JumpStart Theatre aims to:

  • be sustainable and implemented in underserved middle schools nationwide, engaging as many students as possible in all aspects of theatre, 
  • prepare students for high school, college, and the workforce by instilling the 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and creativity.