JumpStart Theatre

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

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.

How it works:

JumpStart Theatre provides Cincinnati-area middle schools with the training and material necessary to present a musical theatre production in their schools. Schools are chosen based on a rigorous application process and site visit. Participant schools receive materials, budget, and training support (valued at $12,000 annually) to produce one full-scale musical production. We utilize existing teachers who receive ongoing coaching from our program mentor. 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 of three teachers from each selected school participate in a series of three “bootcamps,” led by a master teacher. These workshops provide training in all areas of musical theatre production, with the goal of empowering the teacher teams to guide the programs independently. The master teacher, assisted by Cincinnati theatre professionals, offers guidance in all areas of musical theatre productions, while continuing to encourage teacher ownership of productions.


Teams mount at least two public performances for their schools and communities, and come together with the other teams and their students in a culminating celebration of everyone’s achievements 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.


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

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

JumpStart Class I, 2015-2018:

Holmes Middle School Finneytown Middle School James N. Gamble Montessori High School
Covington, KY Cincinnati, OH Cincinnati, OH
Schoolhouse Rock Live! JR The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley JR Annie JR
March 14-15, 2017 March 30-31, 2017 March 17-18, 2017

JumpStart Class II, 2016-2019:

Aiken New Tech High School Dater High School Felicity-Franklin Middle School
Cincinnati, OH Cincinnati, OH Felicity, OH
Once on This Island JR Schoolhouse Rock Live! JR Honk! JR
March 22-23, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 24-25, 2017

For more information about JumpStart Theatre, contact Ginny Butsch.

Thanks to all JumpStart Theatre partners and supporters. Donate now!

ArtsWave. Creating community through the arts. http://www.theartswave.org/ Barnes Dennig. Accounting. Tax. Business Insight. http://www.barnesdennig.com/ Benefits Network Insurance. http://www.bninsurance.com/ Community Arts Initiatives. http://www.communityartsinitiatives.org/ Duke Energy. https://www.duke-energy.com/home The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. https://www.gcfdn.org/ Hilton. http://www3.hilton.com/en/index.html iTheatrics. http://itheatrics.com/ Knowlton. http://aekfoundation.org/ Music Theatre International. http://www.mtishows.com/ Ohio Arts Council. http://www.oac.ohio.gov/ The Daniel & Susan Pfau Foundation. http://www.pfaufoundation.org/ Taft. http://taftlaw.com/ Cincinnati Arts Association. http://www.cincinnatiarts.org/