Three Tri-State Area Middle Schools Awarded Fully Funded Three-Year Jumpstart Theatre Program

Three Tri-State Area Middle Schools Awarded Fully Funded Three-Year Jumpstart Theatre Program

After a three-month selection process, Mountain City Center for the Arts (MCCA) has named the three tri-state area middle schools they will partner with for the regional launch of the JumpStart Theatre program. 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.

Northern and Southern Middle Schools in the Garrett County Maryland Public School System and Turkeyfoot Valley School District from Pennsylvania 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. MCCA will be providing 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. "We were very impressed with the strong desire and support of not only the students, but the entire administration team at all of the schools. During the on-site interviews, there really wasn't a question about how do to this at any of the schools, but rather how soon can we start. The excitement level witnessed at all the three schools blew us away," said Coty Forno, Owner and Director of MCCA.

"The eagerness of all of the selected schools to support and expand the arts in their schools was extraordinary. It is our honor and pleasure to help be a part of this amazing JumpStart Theatre program and help expand theatre in these schools," commented Pete Forno, JumpStart Theatre Program Coordinator at MCCA.

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. Because of their success in expanding theatre education programs in rural areas, Mountain City Center for the Arts was chosen as the fifth theatre company across the US and the pilot for the rural expansion of the JumpStart Theatre Program. MCCA 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.

Questions regarding the JumpStart Theatre program and application process may be addressed to
Pete Forno, Mountain City Center for the Arts JumpStart Theatre Coordinator, at

Mountain City Center for the Arts, LLC is a nationally recognized and award-winning inclusive performing arts facility located in Western Maryland. MCCA offers the highest quality professional instruction in the arts within a positive, supportive, and inspiring environment. Our company focuses on the journey of the young artist by encouraging personal growth, self-esteem, teamwork, and communication skills for all ages. As artists and educators, we are dedicated to creating a safe, positive, family-friendly atmosphere in order to motivate compassionate, courageous artists.

The Educational Theatre Foundation was launched November, 2017, as the philanthropic arm of the Educational Theatre Association, which is the home of the International Thespian Society. 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. In its first year ETF has awarded more than $650,000 in grants, directly impacting high school theatre programs in 50 cities, and enabling the development of musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools in six states.

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 Educational Theatre Foundation 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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