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The Advocacy Update is where you can find state and national news about theatre and other arts education EdTA NEWS Thespian Festival registration is now open . “Hit your mark” at Thespian Festival 2015 in Lincoln Nebraska, June 22-27. Registration closes May 1. NATIONAL NEWS House of Representatives Voting on “Student Success Act” Friday : On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a Republican bill and a Democratic alternative to reauthorize federal education programs last completed 13 years ago through No Child Left Behind . Americans for the Arts has issued an action alert that...
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Dear Arts Advocate: On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider onFriday three dozen amendments to"The Student Success Act" (HR 5), a bill to reauthorize federal education programs. This is a legislative effort last completed 13 years ago through the No Child Left Behind Act . There is a great need to improve upon that outdated legislation. Through Friday's floor considerationin...
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I can hardly believe it, but the Theatre Education Community has already been around for a year. Before we had the Community, I thought I knew a lot about theatre. I mean, 17ish years of experience and a BFA and you start thinking you’ve got a handle on things... Little did I know that I had barely scratched the surface. I have learned amazing tricks and tips, read some fantastic new plays, discovered some incredibly helpful apps, and made new friends by being part of this forum. I learned more about tough issues theatre students and teachers face and read eloquent debates about various aspects of educational theatre. I have felt inspired, entertained...
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This weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio with my fabulous ITO board. With all the snow we anticipated it to be chaos with us just arriving, but God was on our side and we all got their on time and safe. As soon as we hit the ground (possibly a slip here or there because of the snow) we were talking about our weekend of Festival planning. Before all the fun really began, we caught up in our hotels about life and over dinner enjoyed each other’s company. I’m so glad we got to do that the first night because we were put to work the next day! We hit home office the next day and got to meet with all the...
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This weekend I had the privilege of being able to be reunited with my wonderful family and get back to doing what we love to do most, work our tails off for Thespians. It was such a joy to see Mrs. Carr, Staples, Swils, Ben, Erin, Ginny, Kat, Julie, Jim, and all the other adults at the Educational Theatre Association who inspire me with their dedication to this art form and students. I am so excited for all the new projects we have in store and can not wait to get to Lincoln! Thank you to everyone at EdTA that met with us and treated us as colleagues and not just kids. Thank you Swils, Staples, Mrs. Carr, and Ben for taking such wonderful care of us! Thank...
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I spent my weekend with some of my very favorite people at the Educational Theatre Association Home Office in Cincinnati, OH. I arrived Sunday afternoon with ITO Chair Alex Minton,got lunch with Ben Ochsner, then arrived at the hotel with the rest of the board, Scott Wilson and Kimberly Staples, our liaisons, and Diane Carr, our fearless leader. After catchup and story time we had a lovely dinner at Bar Louis’ with the group. Earl y morning Sunday we went to explore the home office. We were lucky to have a short tour of the EdTA Home Office before we started planning the ITO leadership workshop held at Festival in Lincoln and the ITO...
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One of the International Thespian Officers’ main goals for the year is to expand the use of Community. We highlight the different state chapter events each month by asking a few questions. We hope this sparks creativity when you're planning your next event! Our latest tour stops included: Arkansas, Georgia, Montana, Minnesota, and North Carolina! ❖ How many people attend? “Approximately 570 Thespians this year!” Morgan Solonar , President of Montana STO board “4,200 students. With Vendors and directors that number rises to a solid 4,500.” Ellen Everitt , Georgia STO ...
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One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to build resources and support the theatre education field. We shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview. Our latest Spotlight Member is Virginia (Ginny) Schreiber, an EdTA professional member and a middle school drama teacher at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bellevue, Washington. Ginny often poses thoughtful how-to questions in the Community, ranging from dealing with make-up sensitivity to getting paint out of theatre...
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The Minnesota Thespian Conference celebrated its 7 th year this year and is doing a wonderful job of continuing growth. Sunday’s part of the 400-student conference was held at East Ridge High School and Monday was held at the beautiful Guthrie Theatre. After my Valentine's Day flight (yes, I did a candy heart puzzle on the airplane tray table) and an overnight, I arrived at East Ridge with Mr. Jim Palmarini. I met all 12 of the Minnesota STO who had hilarious fundraisers set up for their Send-A-Troupe. The thespians donated money to whichever officer they wanted to see pied in the face, wear a tutu, and other goofy things. During the day...
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Arkansas Thespianage 2015.

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Special Spy Mission: To enrich lives through theatre education. Mission Location: Russellville Arkansas Agents: approx. 700 Thespians Mission Day 1: Thursday, February 12th. I arrived in time to plan for the Opening Ceremony Spectacular--a light show set to a medley of songs and a student-choreographed dance. I was included in the dance and had so much fun strutting my stuff onstage in a sparkly purple hat and glasses. The team of six STO and the representatives from various Arksansas high school presented the opening remarks following this dance and kicked off the 2015 All-State show titled, "I Want to Make Magic", a very heart-warming...
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What can be achieved in 60 seconds? Making a pot of coffee for rehearsal, brushing up on our lines for the next scene--how about raising an average of $868.33. It began in New York City... as most success stories do. The ITO were in the Big Apple to discuss fundraising with EdTA's Director of Development, Mr. Marion Combs. We got on the topic of how we could increase support for The Lincoln Experience, a collection of all the various financial aid packages that bring individual students/troupes to the Thespian Festival. We decided to focus on fundraising for the Send A Troupe to Festival grant and as we looked below at hustle and bustle of New York...
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The Advocacy Update is where you can find state and national news about theatre and other arts education EdTA NEWS EdTA kicks off JumpStart Theatre Pilot Project in Cincinnati : JumpStart Theatre, a collaboration between the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), and New York City-based companies, Music Theatre International (MTI) and iTheatrics, began accepting applications from Cincinnati-area middle schools in February, with the goal of launching the program in three schools in fall, 2015. The three-year pilot program will train educators to develop sustainable arts programs at underserved that do not currently...
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From the moment that I walked into the Raleigh Convention Center to the moment that I was sent on my plane home from North Carolina's conference, I felt so welcomed and accepted! I was also really excited to be attending my first three day conference, so I knew it was going to be a super experience. Oh yeah, the festival was also Superhero themed! Day 1: I arrived just in time for the opening dance (curse Connecticut weather), and it was just a wonderful way of kicking off the festival. It was very low stress and great for getting to know new people at the festival with out much stress about IEs or the One Acts until the next couple of days. Here's...
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This past weekend I got the wonderful opportunity to attend Georgia Thespian Conference for the third time and this last time has truly left a mark on my heart that I will never forget. Being a STO and an ITO I got the opportunity to really delve into the conference from behind the scenes. I got to see what all the teachers saw and what all the students saw. I got to see everything. Georgia is unique in so many ways. Here, we have really made an even plane on the importance of all aspects of the conference. No one thing is greater than the other. Everything is held to the same HIGH standard. We've managed to make the perfect balance of competition and fun...
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Montana is known for its big skies, grass fed beef, but more importantly--a superb group of thespians. I had the privilege to travel to the University of Montana in Missoula this past weekend to attend the 2015 Montana Thespian Festival.After my flight landed I met up with the fantastic Student State Board members to plan out our weekend. This group of leaders was such a joy to work with, and they made me feel right at home. On Friday morning, the STO and I taught a leadership workshop to the high school representatives. Afterwards I helped set up the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS silent auction table, and I worked the STO merchandise booth....
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One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and professionals from all over connect and identify with each other in order to build resources and support the theatre education field. We shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview. Our latest Spotlight Member is Kristi Jacobs-Stanley, troupe director of Troupe 2075 at Mt. Carmel Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kristi has shared creative fundraising ideas, advice for those just starting a career in theatre education, and her experience working at an all-girl school, just to name a few topics in the...
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“How many of you take NAPS?” “Have you taken a NAP?” “How do you take NAPS?” Teaching the Advocacy workshop at State Conferences around the country has shown me how many people I can get into a room who are under the impression that they’re there to sleep for an hour and a half. So far it's been about 66 thespians. The introduction to the workshop often leaves people intrigued, excited and still slightly sleepy. I absolutely love telling my story and connecting with people from other schools that have experienced budget cuts. The NAPS workshops gets really deep. This is usually where I really get to see how passionate...
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What Even Is Advocacy?

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"What even is advocacy?" is a question that I tend to get a lot from student's who attend my N.A.P.S. workshop. Some people have never heard of the word before, and others are even scared of the word--but people should never feel this way. It's in the name of the workshop: National Advocacy, Plain & Simple ! It's honestly as easy as telling the next person you see that your being involved in theatre has given you something to do after school, or maybe even as simple as wearing a shirt from one of your past shows on #theatreshirtthursday. The most important part of it is that you are telling others, who may not understand, how deeply theatre...
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Lets N.A.P.S.

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I think my favorite part about attending festivals is when someone stops me after the N.A.P.S workshop and says, "You know, I was really mad that we weren't napping, but I actually learned a lot." I get comments like this A LOT. Why? Because Advocacy is a scary word and it's a scary topic, but students are realizing that we're at the age where we can do something about. I love seeing the idea of how serious an issue arts funding is and how even the advocating for their shows is advocating for theatre! The response has been tremendous, many troupes have kept in contact with me and are furthering N.A.P.S. into their daily schedule. Advocacy facts are put in...
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NAPS Nation.

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I will never forget the day the ITO board created NAPS, the brand new student advocacy platform. How could we make advocacy cool? How could we appeal to a bigger crowd? What does nearly ever student like? NAPS! National Advocacy Plain & Simple And so it began. A specially-crafted workshop to encourage students to create their own definition of advocacy. Know your facts, know your audience, know your purpose, tell your story. Iowa Thespian Festival : two workshop sessions with other 100 participants. Missouri Thespian Conference: one workshop session with 89 students crammed in a 49-person room. Mississippi Thespian Festival:...
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