UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – Mar. 5, 2018 – Fifty high schools have risen above 1,000 applicants to claim NBC’s R.I.S.E. America grants. The program – inspired by the network’s upcoming drama “Rise” about a high school theatre department and its effects on a small town – is awarding a half-million dollars to high school theatre programs across the country.
Through R.I.S.E. (Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America, NBC has awarded each of the 50 winning schools with a $10,000 grant that will cover the critical needs of their theatre programs ranging from production expenses to technical equipment and master classes. NBC is facilitating the program in partnership with the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF), a non-profit organization dedicated to shaping lives through theatre education.
“It is a dream come true for me that ‘Rise’ will have a genuine impact on 50 high school drama programs throughout the country,” said Jason Katims, the show’s creator and executive producer. “It has never been clearer that the future of our country rests on the shoulders of the next generation of young leaders. I am excited about the notion that the R.I.S.E. America grants will help support, inspire and nurture creative young minds throughout the country, especially at a time when arts in education is under-valued and under-funded. I am blown away by the generosity of NBC and Bob Greenblatt, along with the efforts of the Educational Theatre Foundation, who have made this all possible.”
“Seeing the need school-by-school was both inspiring and a wake-up call,” said Julie Cohen Theobald, President of the Educational Theatre Foundation. “The way these dedicated educators are impacting kids’ lives, against the odds and without the necessary resources, is heroic. Every school was deserving, and their stories reinforce the need to continue this momentum until every school in America has a well-funded theatre program.”
To qualify for the grant, high schools were required to have an existing theatre program or a champion of theatre arts in their teaching staff in cases where a school’s theatre program was cut because of budget constraints.
Each school submitted a video celebrating their theatre program and a 500-word essay explaining why their school should be awarded the grant and how they will use the $10,000 should they win. They also submitted a letter of recommendation from a school principal or administrator endorsing the application.
The 50 winning high schools (in alphabetical order by state) are:
*indicates home of International Thespian Society Troupe
From Jason Katims, executive producer and showrunner of “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood,” and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller comes a heartening new drama about finding inspiration in unexpected places. When dedicated teacher Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) sheds his own self-doubt and takes over the school’s lackluster theater department, he galvanizes not only the faculty and students but the entire working-class town. The series stars Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez, Auli’i Cravalho, Damon J. Gillespie, Marley Shelton, Rarmian Newton, Ted Sutherland, Amy Forsyth, Casey W. Johnson, Taylor Richardson, Joe Tippett and Shirley Rumierk.
Jason Katims serves as creator and executive producer. Jeffrey Seller, Flody Suarez and Michelle Lee executive produce.
“Rise” is produced by Universal Television, True Jack Productions and Seller Suarez Productions. It premieres on NBC on March 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Visit NBC.com/Rise for more information.
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.