The Princess Grace Foundation has partnered with the Educational Theatre Foundation to create the Grace Kelly Scholarships, which will award $500,000 over the next decade to support students with creative promise in their theatrical studies. The fund will have an emphasis on awarding students from underserved communities.
The initiative will become part of the International Thespian Excellence Awards, which recognize exceptional achievement in high school theatre performance and technical theatre. More than 10,000 students compete at local events annually to qualify for the Thespys, the highest honors at the International Thespian Festival.
Scholarship recipients will be selected from the top-scoring students competing in the awards. Five $6,000 scholarships will be awarded to graduating seniors to support college education, and five $1,000 training scholarships will be awarded to underclassmen. College-bound scholarship recipients will also be matched with a professional mentor chosen by the Princess Grace Foundation from the pool of artists that have won the Princess Grace Award, which supports and elevates extraordinary early-career theatre artists. Combined with the existing Amy Bennett Musical Theatre Scholarship, the Princess Grace Foundation's donation will see the International Thespian Festival awarding $40,000 in scholarships to theatre students annually.
The Princess Grace Foundation honors the legacy of Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, and her commitment to the advancement of the arts in the United States. Kelly was a star of stage and screen, perhaps best remembered for her performances in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed films Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, and To Catch a Thief.
"For almost 40 years, the Princess Grace Foundation has recognized extraordinary early career artists," shares Princess Grace Foundation CEO Brisa Carleton. "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. 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.”
"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," says ETF 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."
This year's virtual International Thespian Festival is set for June 22–25, and will include more than 40 workshops, opportunities to interact with and audition for more than 60 college theatre programs, and meetings with theatre industry leaders. Open to and for all theatre fans including both students and educators, registration for the 2021 Virtual International Thespian Festival is currently open at ITF.SchoolTheatre.org.