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Three Atlanta Middle Schools Awarded Fully Funded Three-Year JumpStart Theatre Program

After an extensive selection process, the Alliance Theatre named the three Atlanta area middle schools they will partner with for the regional launch of The JumpStart Theatre program, developed by the Educational Theatre Association. JumpStart Theatre is a three-year program that will equip faculty and administrators with the skills and resources to produce their school's first musical theatre production.

Garrett Middle School in the Cobb County School District, Jean Childs Young Middle School in the Atlanta Public School District, and Pointe South Middle School in the Clayton County Public School District were selected from all middle school applicants to receive the three-year grant sponsored by the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) beginning in the 2019-20 school year. The Alliance Theatre will provide teaching artists dedicated to mentoring the schools throughout the entire three-year program, with the goal of building a sustainable, long-term musical theatre curriculum. The selection process included a formal written application, site visits to the schools and interviews with administrators and the faculty who would be spearheading the program for their school.

"The opportunity to support our middle school teachers and help them build a sustainable theatre program is thrilling," said Christopher Moses, Alliance Theatre Dan Reardon Director of Education and Associate Artistic Director. "JumpStart Theatre has a demonstrated track record of building capacity among those new to the art form, and I'm beyond delighted that some of metro Atlanta's public schools can now share in this success."

JumpStart Theatre is funded entirely by gifts and grants. The expansion to Atlanta and the Alliance Theatre is made possible by a generous gift from Robert Greenblatt, Chairman Warner Media Entertainment and Direct to Consumer, as well as gifts from The Shubert Foundation, and others.

The JumpStart Theatre Program equips non-theatre teachers with the skills and resources to produce their school's first musical through a proven combination of hands-on mentoring and boot-camp style training. Julie Cohen Theobald, president of the Educational Theatre Foundation said, "The Alliance Theatre is an ideal partner for JumpStart Theatre. Their education offerings are vast and impressive, and their mission fits perfectly with our vision to bring theatre to every student." Alliance Theatre will be providing the local mentorship, training and guidance to the selected schools. Applications for three additional year 2 schools will be accepted later this year.

Celebrating its 51st anniversary season, the Alliance Theatre is the leading producing theater in the Southeast, reaching more than 165,000 patrons annually. Under the leadership of Susan V. Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, the Alliance received the Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained excellence in programming, education, and community engagement. Known for its high artistic standards and national role in creating significant theatrical works, the Alliance has premiered more than 110 productions including nine that have transferred to Broadway. The Alliance education department reaches 90,000 students annually through performances, classes, camps, and in-school initiatives with programs including the Alliance Theatre Institute, Palefsky Collision Project, Kathy & Ken Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young, and Alliance@Work. The Alliance nurtures the careers of artists through developmental programs including the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, producing a premiere for the winner, and the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, providing resources for projects devised by local artists.

ETF provides essential financial support to enhance excellence in theatre education and to expand access to school theatre programs for every child, putting them on a more positive life path. ETF is focused on three areas: JumpStart Theatre-to create sustainable musical theatre programs where there previously were none; need-based grants to schools-to provide teaching and performance resources and equipment in under-resourced schools; and, merit and need-based grants to individuals-to nurture the next generation of theatre teachers and artists.

The JumpStart Theatre program creates sustainable theatre arts programs in middle schools where there previously were none. Participating schools are chosen through a rigorous application process and receive training, materials, and budget support to produce their first full-scale musical production. The support continues for three years until the program becomes self-sustaining. Non-theatre teachers are equipped with skills and resources to produce their school's first musical through a proven combination of bootcamp style training and hands-on mentoring. The ETF operates JumpStart Theatre through a national network of regional theatre company partners who are selected based on their track-record of success in running educational programs for children. JumpStart Theatre Partners are:

Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Ga.; La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, Calif.; Mountain City Center for the Arts, Frostburg, Md.; Stages St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo.; The Children's Theatre, Cincinnati, Oh.*

*original pilot site

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