JumpStart Theatre

Creating sustainable theatre programs in underserved middle schools where there were none

A collaboration between the Educational Theatre Foundation, Music Theatre International (MTI), and iTheatrics, JumpStart Theatre is a three-year scalable program designed to build sustainable musical theatre programs in schools that currently do not have access to theatre. JumpStart Theatre aims to:

  • be sustainable and easily implemented in underserved middle schools nationwide;
  • engage as many students as possible in all aspects of theatre;
  • build school and community interest in the arts; and
  • encourage the transfer of theatre knowledge and skills to other subject areas in the curriculum.
Music Theatre International logo
Educational Theatre Foundation logo
iTheatrics logo

JumpStart Theatre is a key component of ETF’s access and equity strategies. It addresses the needs of underserved children in Title 1 schools who do not have access to theatre in their curriculum, it provides innovative opportunities for parents and caregivers to participate in their children’s school activities (a proven step in increasing student academic performance), and provides a sustainable model for school that are chronically underfunded.

How does it work?

The JumpStart Theatre program provides middle schools with the training and materials necessary to present a musical theatre production in their schools. Administered through a network of cultural institution partners, participating schools are selected during a rigorous application process and make a three-year commitment to the program. Each school receives services and materials valued at approximately $12,000 annually in the form of training, mentoring, and support to produce a full-scale show for its community. JumpStart Theatre also provides teacher stipends and modest budgets for sets and costumes. Students are involved in every aspect of the production: performance, costumes, sets, technical support, and design.

Choosing a Show

Each school selects a title from MTI’s Broadway Junior® catalog of musicals adapted specifically for young performers. MTI donates the ShowKit® that supplies teachers with the resources they need to direct, choreograph, and teach the show’s music.

Teacher Training

Teams of three teachers from each school participate in professional development “boot camps” led by a master teacher certified by iTheatrics, who developed the quintessential methodology and curriculum for creating quality musical theatre programs. These workshops provide training in all areas of theatre production, with the goal of empowering the teachers to guide the programs independently.

Rehearsals & Performances

A program mentor visits the schools regularly to observe the rehearsal process and coach the teachers in planning and direction. The schools mount at least two public performances for their school and community and come together with other participating schools in a culminating community celebration showcase of each school’s achievements, held at a high-profile theatre venue.

The support continues for three straight years until the program becomes sustainable. The program is poised to make a powerful impact on thousands of students as it continues, providing them with a more expansive education that teaches 21st century skills like creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. 

Thank you to our partnering cultural instutions

Interested in bringing JumpStart Theatre to your school? Click on a logo above to learn how each institution accepts new applicants.
Intersted in becoming a partnering cultural institution? Contact us.

And to companies that donate services to JumpStart Theatre schools

Bodymics logo
Broadway Media logo

From the field...

“Having JumpStart Theatre at our school has allowed my students to discover new joys about themselves. Most of my students hadn’t performed in any capacity before, but now they’re using their voices, moving their bodies, and letting out their emotions in new ways. The happiness it brings them is contagious! They can’t wait to show their families and friends all of the hard work they’ve been putting into our show.”
Danny Jones
Knox Middle School

Help start a theatre program in an underserved school today.