News Release: Thespian Relief Fund Announces First 50 Grants Benefiting Schools in Need Across the U.S.

The Educational Theatre Foundation’s (ETF) new Thespian Relief Fund has made its first round of grant awards totaling $30,000 and benefiting 40 school theatre programs in 22 states and the District of Columbia. (Complete list below.)

School theatre programs use box office proceeds to fund their next year’s shows. With schools closed and spring shows canceled, and major cuts anticipated in state education budgets, many school theatre programs are at risk of failing. In fact according to a recent survey from the Educational Theatre Association, about half the survey respondents lost between 26% and 50% of their revenue last season.

In response, ETF established the Thespian Relief Fund to provide timely financial support for school theatre programs at schools in most need, including Title 1 schools with significant student enrollments of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as rural and small schools with few or no support resources. The grants awarded this week are in two categories:

$500 grants for schools to start or renew a Thespian Troupe and cover lifetime fees for 10 students.

$1,000 grants to assist school theatre programs that, because of COVID-19, have been negatively impacted by cancellation of events or loss of projected revenue.

A total of 40 $500 grants and 10 $1,000 grants have been awarded. 

Initial donations for the Thespian Relief Fund came from Project Sing Out!, a one-night livestreamed event conceived by Tony Award nominee and Thespian alum Hailey Kilgore. The event, which took place July 20, raised funds for ETF to support arts education specifically in low-income communities and communities of color. It can still be viewed exclusively on’s YouTube Channel and Facebook page.

Donations to support the Thespian Relief Fund are now being accepted by the Educational Theatre Foundation.

ETF President Julie Cohen Theobald said, “Thanks to all involved in Project Sing Out! and many other donors who recognize the critical value theatre education has for all students. Support is needed more than ever for schools to sustain their theatre programs through the pandemic.”


Thespian Relief Fund Grant Recipients | September 2020

W. P. Davidson High School, Mobile, Troupe 8445
Paul W. Bryant High School, Cottondale

East Valley High School, Mesa
Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center, Prescott Valley

American Canyon High School, Troupe 8155
Carlsbad High School, Troupe 1519

Rangeview High School, Aurora, Troupe 4210

District of Columbia
McKinley Technology High School, Troupe 8836

Lake Worth Community High School
Leto High School, Tampa, Troupe 2932
St. Cloud High School, Troupe 1826
West Nassau High School, Callahan, Troupe 5268

Newnan High School, Troupe 7132
Rockdale County High School, Conyers, Troupe 3414
Kipp Atlanta Collegiate

United Township High School, East Moline, Troupe 8743

Rensselaer Central High School

Leavenworth High School, Troupe 287
Ottawa High School, Troupe 8841

Abramson Sci Academy, New Orleans
George Washington Carver High School, New Orleans, Troupe 8890

Harrison Community High School, Troupe 8281

Waconia High School, Troupe 2697

West Point High School, Troupe 8964

New Jersey
Voorhees High School, Glen Gardner, Troupe 1936

New Mexico
Santa Fe High School, Troupe 4115

New York
Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley
The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters

Kings Mills High School, Troupe 7739

U.S. Grant High School, Oklahoma City, Troupe 1624

Governor Mifflin High School, Shillington, Troupe 6844

Oakland Middle School, Murfreesboro

James Bowie Middle School, Richmond
A+ Academy Secondary, Dallas
Cedar Creek High School, Troupe 7741
Chavez High School, Houston, Troupe 7977
Northside High School, Houston
Wunderlich Intermediate School, Houston

West Virginia
Parkersburg South High School, Troupe 1540
Capital High School, Charleston, Troupe 4117