JumpStart Theatre


EdTA, in collaboration with New York City-based companies iTheatrics and Music Theatre International (MTI), created JumpStart Theatre, a scalable pilot program designed to build sustainable musical theatre programs where there previously were none. The pilot launched in Cincinnati in 2015.

JumpStart Theatre is modeled after the successful Broadway Junior Musical Theatre Program founded by The Shubert Foundation, iTheatrics, and MTI in 2005 in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education.  

As of 2019, JumpStart Theatre is being implemented in Cincinnati, OHSan Diego, CASt. Louis, MOAtlanta, GA; Detroit, MI; and Frostburg, MD

JumpStart Theatre aims to:

• be sustainable and implemented in underserved middle schools nationwide,
• engage 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.

See more about the program's impact in our 2020 Annual Report


How it works:

Schools are chosen based on a rigorous application process and site visit. JumpStart Theatre provides participant schools with materials, budget, and training support (valued at $12,000 annually) to produce one full-scale musical production a year. The program engages existing teachers who are trained through a series of three “bootcamps,” covering all areas of musical theatre production. The teacher teams also receive ongoing coaching from a trained mentor, empowering them to guide their programs independently. Students are involved in every aspect of the production: performance, costumes, sets, and design. The three-year grants support building the program to reach a sustainable level.


Teams mount at least two public performances for their schools and communities, and come together with the other teams and their students in an annual showcase that includes a selected musical theatre number from each school.

Each production will draw from MTI’s Broadway Junior series, which adapts classic and contemporary musicals into one-hour editions, suitable for middle-school performers. Each show also comes with a kit that supplies teachers with all the resources that they will need to direct, choreograph, and teach the show’s music.


The Centers for Research on Creativity (CRoC) lead the JumpStart Theatre Research Project. It measured the annual and cumulative impact of the musical theatre program on student development over the three-year period of the pilot in nine behavioral areas:

Creativity Problem solving with others with different ideas
Critical thinking General outlook for the future
Metacognition (reflection) Collaboration
Life satisfaction Self-efficacy
Attitudes about doing arts

Click the cover below to view the 2020
JumpStart Theatre Annual Report:

View 2019 JumpStart Theatre Report
View 2018 JumpStart Theatre Research Executive Summary

JumpStart Theatre Graduates:

These schools have successfully completed their three years of training and are proudly sustaining their own musical theatre programs:

Holmes Middle School, Covington, KY
Gamble Montessori, Cincinnati, OH
Finneytown Middle School, Cincinnati, OH
Aiken New Tech High School, Cincinnati, OH
Dater High School, Cincinnati, OH
Felicity-Franklin Middle School, Felicity, OH
Clark Montessori High School, Cincinnati, OH
Roberts Academy, Cincinnati, OH
Oyler School, Cincinnati, OH

Contact us:

For more information about JumpStart Theatre, email JumpStartTheatre@schooltheatre.org.

Thanks to all JumpStart Theatre partners and supporters.

Learn more about how to help bring JumpStart Theatre to additional schools.