Start a theatre program in an underserved school through
the JumpStart Theatre program

Meet Za'Khyra

The impact of JumpStart Theatre is an inspiration.

At the start of the year, Za’Khyra Whitfield was a quiet, conscientious young lady who came to Gamble Montessori and didn’t have a lot of friends.

In the first weeks of school, she had started meeting with our school psychologist. Za’Khyra had reported symptoms of depression. Our psychologist learned that one of the things Za’Khyra did to calm herself was sing a favorite Disney song. She had a beautiful voice, and we all encouraged her to try out for the musical. She got the role of Erzulie, the goddess of love, in our production of Once On This Island, Jr. She had a show-stopping solo. She was so proud of herself.

— Representative of James N. Gamble Montessori School, a JumpStart Theatre grant recipient school

The JumpStart Theatre program creates sustainable theatre arts programs in underserved middle schools where there were none.

Participant schools are chosen based on a rigorous application process and receive materials, budget, and training support to produce their first full-scale musical production. The support continues for three straight years until the program becomes sustainable.


Implemented and sustainable in underserved middle schools nationwide


Engages as many students as possible in all aspects of theatre


Instills the 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking

See the impact JumpStart had last year in our 2020 Annual Report


Sponsors one school for an entire year, covering all costs associated with JumpStart Theatre.


Provides technical theatre and production needs for one school for one year.


Provides one participating JumpStart Theatre teacher’s stipend for a year.


Funds one teacher’s participation in the professional development “boot camp” series.

JumpStart Theatre happens with help from you!

JumpStart Theatre is made possible in part by support from:
Eleanora C.U. Alms Trust, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee

Thank you to our donors for their generous support of the Educational Theatre Foundation.

“Za’Khyra is the kind of student that a program like this touches and changes. It didn’t just change her individually by giving her a great experience – which it did – but it literally changed her life.”

— Representative of James N. Gamble Montessori School, a JumpStart Theatre grant recipient school

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