ETF’s Largest-Ever Scholarship Donation Will Fund Grace Kelly Scholarship Program

May 11, 2021
students performing at International Thespian Festival
Students perform at the International Thespian Festival (ITF) showcase. Starting this June, Thespy Awards participants at ITF will be eligible for the new Grace Kelly Scholarships.

 In partnership with the Princess Grace Foundation, ETF has announced a major investment in the continuing education of promising young theatre artists. Thanks to a generous gift from the Victory Foundation, $500,000 in scholarships and support will be awarded over 10 years to students who show creative promise in their area of the theatrical arts, with an emphasis on traditionally underserved communities.

Through the International Thespian Excellence Awards (Thespys®), the newly established Grace Kelly Scholarship program will provide extraordinary young theatre students at the high school level with financial support and mentorship to further develop their craft 

Presented at the International Thespian Festival (ITF), the Thespy Awards recognize the highest level of achievement in school theatre performance and technical theatre. More than 10,000 students compete at dozens of chapter events to qualify for a chance to receive the highest honors at ITF. Students who earn top scores in their categories at the Thespy Awards will be invited to interview for the Grace Kelly Scholarship program. 

Each year, 10 Grace Kelly Scholarships will be awarded—five $6,000 scholarships to graduating seniors for their college education and five $1,000 training scholarships to underclassmen. Those entering college will be matched with a professional mentor chosen by the Princess Grace Foundation from its Princess Grace Award winners. Paired with the existing Amy Bennett Musical Theatre Scholarship, $40,000 will be awarded to theatre students annually at the International Thespian Festival. 

Awarding the Grace Kelly Scholarships at the International Thespian Festival is an ideal way to recognize promising young artists by supporting their education and growth,” said Educational Theatre Foundation President Julie Cohen Theobald. “We are proud to partner with the Princess Grace Foundation through a generous gift from the Victory Foundation to develop young artists into the launch of their careers. 

“For almost forty years, the Princess Grace Foundation has recognized extraordinary early career artists; the Grace Kelly Scholarship will allow us to identify extraordinary aspiring artists at the high school level to create a direct pipeline of theatre creators who will one day join our illustrious roster of Princess Grace Award winners,” Princess Grace Foundation CEO Brisa Carleton said. “We are thrilled to launch this exciting new program with Education Theatre Foundation, a leader in supporting over 75,000 aspiring high school artists around the world. 

The International Thespian Festival (ITF) takes place June 22-25, 2021, in an all-virtual formatProduced by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA)the festival culminates in the presentation of the Thespy Award Showcase, during which the scholarship winners will be announced alongside selected students’ winning exhibition performances. Watch the 2020 showcase: 

In addition to the Grace Kelly Scholarships awarded at ITF, ETF provides a variety of scholarship opportunities to Thespians, including several for students of color. Applications for the 2021-22 school year will open next fall.

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