FAIRY GODMOTHER PROGRAM
Each year, thousands of children and teens from under-resourced schools attend our student matinees for free.
The magic of theatre.
Each season, our Fairy Godmother Program brings thousands of children and teens, whose schools have little or no arts funding, to experience the magic of live theatre for free. For many, this is often their first time attending a theatre for a live performance. The program also includes bus transportation, snacks at intermission, meeting the cast, and take-home enrichment activities.
Most performances coincide with our holiday musical in mid-November and early-December and primarily serve elementary students. These shows are fresh, modern spins on classic fairy tales and are infused with contemporary cultural references to be engaging and accessible for young audiences.
We do, however, also offer Fairy Godmother shows to qualifying schools for other productions in our season that align with middle and high school curriculum.
Due to COVID-19, all Fairy Godmother performances have been canceled for 2020. We look forward to welcoming students back to the theatre for our 2021-2022 Season.
During the 2019-2020 Season, the Fairy Godmother Program had:
- 24 school partners
- 11 shows, including 3 sensory-friendly
- 2,000 students invited
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Before the lights go down, each Fairy Godmother performance begins the same: with this enthusiastic greeting from nearly 200 young students saying hello to Ginny Hoffman, Ensemble’s very first Fairy Godmother.
The Fairy Godmother Program was founded in the memory and celebration of Ginny, an actress and theatre educator who shined on our stage from 1987 until her death in 1993. Like the fairy godmothers she portrayed in many of our early holiday productions, Ginny had a special place in her heart for sharing the magic of theatre with kids.
Nearly 30 years later, more than 2,000 students from the Greater Cincinnati region have attended our holiday shows for free, an incredible tribute to Ginny’s enduring light.
We recognize that many schools and organizations struggle to find funding to provide arts opportunities to their students and carefully consider all requests for our Fairy Godmother Program. With a limited number of shows available, we prioritize ticket requests from schools and organizations with the greatest need:
- Schools with greater than 90% of their overall student body eligible for federal free- or reduced-lunch programs are automatically qualified for free programming.
- Schools with less than 90% of their student body eligible for federal free- or reduced-lunches may qualify for subsidized programming on a sliding fee scale.
Ticket request form
To request Fairy Godmother tickets, submit the online request form, available on this page beginning April 19, 2021. To receive a notification when the form is available, join our education mailing list.
Although requests are accepted starting in April, we may not be able to confirm until mid-summer. If this is an issue, please let us know and we can adjust.
Shows fill quickly and are distributed based on financial need, past relationship, and request submission date. Waiting lists are available for sold-out performances or if more dates are added.
Number of tickets
We can accommodate up to 180 attendees per performance and may be able to split your school or organization into multiple dates depending on the size of your group and ticket availability.
Most Fairy Godmother performances coincide with our holiday production in mid-November and early-December. Dates for the 2021-2022 Season are TBD, please check back after March 1.
We also schedule Fairy Godmother shows for middle and high school students during the season. Age ratings and descriptions of our productions are listed on individual show pages.
Email Lauren Carr, Director of Education, Engagement, and Inclusion, to discuss appropriate shows for your school group and the curriculum support we can provide.
For schools and groups participating in Fairy Godmother matinees, Ensemble Theatre may be able to underwrite or help offset the cost of buses. However, this requires a minimum of four weeks’ notice.
The online ticket request will ask if your school or group will need financial assistance with buses. Should this change after submitting the request form, please notify our staff as soon as possible so that we can try to adjust.
Prior to the show, our staff will provide bus instructions for load-in and load-out of students.
As part of the Fairy Godmother Program, in addition to our school matinees, we also offer several sensory-friendly performances of our holiday musical and other select productions throughout the season. These performances are for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, and other sensory sensitivities to light and sound along with their families.
This is the same professional production staged during the rest of a show’s run, but includes accommodations made for all to enjoy the show. Support materials are also provided to prepare attendees with what to expect during their theatre trip.
Visit our sensory-friendly page for more information, including how to apply:
Our Education, Engagement, and Inclusion Department creates customized study and educator guides to accompany our student matinees productions for in-class use. Each guide includes show information, synopsis, educational materials that align with Common Core Standards, and integrated classroom activities to unpack the show after the performance.
Study guides for Fairy Godmother performances will be posted on this page as they become available. We try to have these posted no later than 2 weeks before the performance. If a guide is not yet posted, please check back or email us with any questions.
Fairy Godmother Sponsors
P&G Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Photo credits | Program history, Claire Slemmer, Ginny Hoffman, & Ophelia Kelly Azariah in The Sleeping Beauty (Sandy Underwood); Qualifying criteria, the cast of The Dancing Princesses greets children in lobby (Mikki Schaffner); Study guides, Burgess Byrd in The Frog Princess (Ryan Kurtz); Educator resources, Dale Hodges, R. Graham Rogers & Esther Cunningham in Sex and Education (Ryan Kurtz).