Mentorship. performance opportunities, and professional guidance are just some of the benefits of the educational JumpStart Theater Arts program in middle school which will begin next year in St Lous, Missouri and San Diego, California.
Stages St. Louis and the La Jolla Playhouse have been chosen by the Educational Theatre Association’s new Educational Theatre Foundation to initiate JumpStart Theater in six schools, three in St. Louis and three in the San Diego area. The theater organizations were chosen because of their many educational programs, and ability to reach out to young people in the community.
JumpStart is funded by private donations and grants, so there is no cost to the participating schools. Each school must have three teachers and a principal who will commit to the JumpStart program. In St. Louis, Stages St. Louis will provide information on its website in January so that area schools may apply for the program.
Teachers will participate in training in musical theater, with experts who will teach them about all aspects of costumes, music, choreography, and stagecraft. No background in performing arts is necessary, just the desire to learn. A mentor will be provided to work with the teachers year round, and they will help students put on their first show right away.
“We will go on the journey with them, the whole way,” said Stages executive producer Jack Lane. “We’ll be their ground support.”