NBC’s upcoming Jason Katims drama Rise serves as the foundation of inspiration for the network’s program R.I.S.E. America, a program that grants a half-million dollars to high school theatre programs across the country.
The drama from the Emmy-winning producer of Friday Night Lights brings a new high school-based show that follows a theater department and its surrounding community. This folds in perfectly with R.I.S.E. (Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression) America, which will award 50 high schools a $10,000 grant that will enable them to enhance or revitalize their theatre programs. The winning schools can use the grant money to cover various critical needs, including master classes and production expenses.
To administer application process, NBC has partnered with the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF), an organization dedicated to shaping lives through theatre education. Full details about how to apply can be read at NBC.com/Rise and seen in the video above featuring Rise stars Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez, Auli’i Cravalho and Damon J. Gillespie.
“This program is incredibly personal to me as someone whose own life was changed by a high school theatre program,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment. “I wholeheartedly support the work of the ETF and have seen the effect of their initiatives on thousands of students. I’m proud that Rise will be more than just an uplifting show about a high school drama program, but, through this initiative, will also have an impact on the lives of real students in 50 high schools.”
“From the start, I wanted to find a way to support the types of schools and students whose stories we were telling,” said Katims, who serves as executive producer and showrunner. “I couldn’t be more thrilled, or feel more passionately, about this partnership and cause. The support Bob and NBC have shown to help make a real difference for schools and theatre programs around the country shines a light on their vital importance.”
To qualify, a high school must 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. The winning schools will be announced in March and will receive the grant funds to support their programs this calendar year.