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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 Jared Grigsby, troupe director of Troupe 1810 at Hebron High School in Hebron, IN. Jared is a frequent contributor to the Community, always quick to advise others or pose thoughtful questions.

2 people recommend this.

Last Saturday I got an opportunity to go to a recording studio with a few members of my mom's band. They are music majors from Tennessee! Many of them have decided to teach music to youth in their older years. I've never had the opportunity to actually speak to them until that Saturday. They asked me about what I want to do after school and I told them theatre. THEY WERE SHOCKED. They didn't understand how a student was involved in theatre at a young age without it being community theatre.  I told them there's an entire association dedicated to theatre education in schools! I spoke specifically with one that is a percussionist teacher.  I told him all the opportunities I've gotten from EdTA and all the great people I've met. He was extremely excited about getting his students involved!  So basically I'm here to tell you that advocacy works and inspires people! So get out there and tell your story! Someone will listen!  And please tell me your advocacy tales. I adore hearing them. 🎭
6 people recommend this.

We continue our series of conversations with some of our better-known Thespians by talking with the man who gave voice to Elphaba and a host of other memorable characters. (View a list of other distinguished Thespians.)

Grammy- and Oscar-winning songwriter Stephen Schwartz
Godspell, Pippin, Wicked, Pocahontas
Mineola High School, New York, 1964

Stephen Schwartz, who currently serves as president of the Dramatists Guild, has written numerous scores for stage and screen, including two musicals currently on Broadway. (In 1976, he had three shows running simultaneously!) He was recently inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Theatre Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievement, which began fifty years ago at a Long Island high school.

“The best thing about [drama teacher] Dan Wargo and the way the troupe at Mineola worked was that the students were given a lot of autonomy over the shows, so that it was a great learning experience. For instance, in my senior year, I directed a production of Agatha Christie’s

2 people recommend this.

Did you know that you can have all of the answers in your pocket? You can with the Theatre Education Community App! It’s available on iTunes or Google Play, perfect for any tablet or smart phone. Search for “theatre education community” in your app store or click on the appropriate link below to get it:

Google Play

iTunes

The first time you use the Community app, you’ll need to log in, using the same access codes you use for the website. If you’ve never created an account on schooltheatre.org, you’ll need to do that first before you can log in to the app.

2 people recommend this.

It’s the dog days of summer, but not for long. Soon, if not already, the new school year will commence and you’ll begin thinking about what plays to produce, lessons to devise, sets to build, rehearsals to plan, and how to ensure that each and every one of your students gets the best possible experience in your classroom and on your stages. And, oh—you’re likely also thinking about how you’ll manage to get everything done in less than twelve hours a day. Still, you love your job, your students, and your school and it is a new year so I know you’re gearing up with energy and optimism. Here’s something else to think about if you haven’t: The new National Core Arts Standards, including theatre, were release in June (www.nationalartsstandards.org). You may be thinking, “My state already has standards and I like them just fine.” Or you may not like your state standards or any others for that matter. Please reconsider—these new national standards may or may not look like your state standards (and it will take time for them to be adopted by individual states), but here are a couple of things that I think are worth bearing in mind about them:

3 people recommend this.

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 plan to shine a spotlight on a different member every other week by conducting a simple interview.

Our latest Spotlight Member is Alexandria Bagwell, a Junior at North Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia. Alexandria is an Honor Thespian and Vice President’s List Scholar of Troupe 5368 and a frequent blogger in the Community. I asked Alexandria to answer a few questions for us so we could learn a little more about her.

1 person recommends this.

When we were working on the new YouthPLAYS catalogue, we decided to include a section at the front that explained the major points of rights and royalties.  Below is a modified for the blog version:

Playwrights' plays and musicals are protected by copyright, which means there are rules about how you can use them. Here are the ones you need to know:

1. You must obtain permission and pay royalties any time you perform a play in whole or in part in front of an audience (anyone outside of the cast and crew), regardless of whether admission is charged, whether the production is being staged for profit, whether anyone is being paid, whether the play is being performed for educational purposes (e.g. school assemblies) or whether the performance is billed as an "invited dress rehearsal."

2. Performing a play without prior licensing and payment of royalties is copyright infringement. Infringement is a serious matter, subject to statutory damages of up to $150,000 per incident plus legal costs. At minimum, expect to pay a penalty in addition to the rightfully owed royalties.

3. You may not make cuts, changes or additions to any play (including changing the gender of a character) without permission from the author or author's representative.
1 person recommends this.

Leadership Summit 2014

After my over night­into the early morning journey through airports and over countless states, I

found myself in the beautiful city known as, Cincinnati. It was the first time since Thespian

Festival that we, the 2014­2015 ITO had gotten to see each other. Over the next couple of days

our already existing bonds of friendship would become unbreakable. Learning how to effectively

work as a team and planning out our goals and workshops for the year, I find out that I am

among some of the most passionate and driven people in the world. The way each of us

communicated our ideas and personal goals opened my eyes to the inner beauty of all the ITO.

Immersing ourselves into advocacy, leadership and countless other important projects that will

be displayed this year, the 2014­2015 ITO became invincible and ready to conquer our term.
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WHAT AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY SUMMIT WAS! It was such a privilege to get to meet all the faces that put this incredible organization together! From teachers, to state chapter directors, and everyone in between it's so interesting to see the gears that run such a well oiled machine. The real summit of this trip was the realization that I'm now a part of this. Being an ITO is still a very surreal thing for me to wrap my head around, but I recognize that I now have the opportunity to give back to this organization that has given me so much and I get to see how much it has given so many other people, and I thank Thespis constantly  for this opportunity. I'm thankful for the wonderful adults that are shaping me and preparing me for this journey, I'm thankful for the former ITO's and the foot prints they left, and I'm so thankful for my current ITO board and that we get to expand these foot prints. And we won't see the finishing products, but the most rewarding part is just that. It keeps going, this organization will continue to strive and it's because of these incredible adults that I met on this trip. Thank you all for your dedication and your love for this art because it inspires
2 people recommend this.

This year I had the opportunity to attend the Leadership Summit in Cincinnati, OH, and let me just say that it was packed with information!

Because I am one of the six incoming ITO, along with two student liaisons, we all spent most of our time learning about being student leaders. From the six outgoing ITO, we learned what their duties were and what it meant to be travelling to many different conferences throughout the year. The outgoing ITO were extremely helpful by helping us to understand the reality of their positions and by being brutally honest with us. They let us know that there are times when it will be very hard for us, but we just have to remember why we signed up for this position and to be true to ourselves.

The new ITO and the two liaisons also worked to create our group goals and values for the year. Those both will help us to stay on track with our mission and to drive us to do our best. Along with this, we've got a decent skeleton for both our leadership and advocacy workshops which are both looking quite awesome! 

Be sure to follow all of our social media sites because this new board will be taking over soon! We want everyone to be up to date on all of our endeavours throughout the year, and we want to hear from you too!
2 people recommend this.

A looking glass. A mirror. A view into a reflection that is opposite of what is normal or expected. Remember that classic Disney cartoon where Mickey Mouse awakens from a groggy nap to find himself faced with a mirror that isn't quite right? It bends, it enchants, and ultimately allows Mickey to step into an alternate world where nothing's as it seems. Just a week ago I found myself in a similar situation to old mouse-eared friend. For those of you that don't know me, my name is Matthew Reindl and I was one of this years ITO Chair candidates. As you may have figured out by now, I lost the election... But much to blissful surprise I was soon contacted by Mrs. Diane Carr. I was offered an advisory position to the board as the Arts Advocacy Liaison. I was then given a chance at a dream I thought was lost... I was invited to join the board at this years 2014 Summit. Much like our pal Mickey I found myself standing infront of the mirror, afraid and cautious. Alas my curiosity and desire to seek fulfillment took over! I took a leap of faith and hopped on a plane to CVG! I was nervous for what could be awaiting my arrival on the other side. Would the board resent my presence? What would
5 people recommend this.

Day 1: Everything has a beginning and an end. Last week in Ohio was a time of new starts and remembering. I arrived at the Hilton Netherlands Plaza in Cincinnati, Ohio after an 18 hour drive from Tampa, Florida. I got to tour around the beautiful city with my family until I was needed. Around noon, I said good bye to my parents and hello to some of the incoming and out going ITO. We all met in our meeting room for welcomes and a Q&A session with the outgoing ITO. It was nice to learn about their experience and throughout the meeting all our delayed friends made there way in. Finally when we were all together, we headed out to eat dinner together. Following dinner can the reception where we met some of the chapter directors.

Day 2 was full of new starts. Matthew and I got to learn more about our liaison positions and expectation. Then throughout the day we had different meetings about leadership, advocacy, values and goals. After a long day of learning and growing with each other, all the directors and ITOs got a special treat. Our lovely Ms. Carr, EdTA member, hosted a pool party where we were able to just hangout and get to know each other better.
1 person recommends this.

3:30 a.m.
Mom: "Liz, wake up, it's ITO time."

7:30 a.m.
Mom: "Liz, wake up, we're in Chicago. What do you mean you don't have your ID? You know this means you're going to have to answer security questions. QUICK, what is the Iowa state bird?"

10:40 a.m.
Alex: "You dyed the tips of your hair pink? You've gone rogue."

Here are the first three things I remember from this trip. After those, I experienced a whirlwind of information, growing friendships, and anticipation.

After a giant hug party with Alex Minton (ITO Chair) and Rachel Gatewood (Region III Representative), we found Scott Wilson (Swils, for short) and drove to our final destination, the lovely Netherlands Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati.

The first day, for me, was a day of listening. I listened to what the outgoing ITO said about their experiences at festivals, with planning, and with working together. We also got to attend a "Meet and Greet" with many State Chapter Directors. I had a really great time getting to know directors from my region, other regions, and, of course, from Iowa! Later that night we decided our three goals as an ITO board,
  1. Reinvent Advocacy
2 people recommend this.

I went into school on Monday to complete our theater inventory and set up our repertory light plot for the school year.  I was so tired from conference and having terrible flight delays, but of course, my students still have the crazy energy of teenagers.  They all had to know every detail of conference and what I learned.  But where do you begin?  The level of learning can't be quantified or tested...it has to be experienced.  

This was so true for my favorite masterclass on viewpoints.  Honestly, I had absolutely no idea what viewpoints was before I stepped into that room.  Then I found out other people in the room knew what it was, and I felt that dreaded feeling of "I'm going to be the silly person in the room who has no idea what they are doing and will make a fool of myself in front of all the other theater teachers!"

Before self-consciousness could completely overwhelm me, we started with exercises to put us in the moment.  Someone in the circle began with the phrase, "I am...," and finished it.  Then it would go to the next person in the circle who would also finish the statement, responding to what the person before you said and without pre-planning what you were going to say.  Our second time around the circle we had the phrase "I hope..." One of the guest high school students finished the statement "I hope to fail."  Boom. Immediate tunnel-vision on the high school junior in the room wise beyond her years.  Exuding the kind of energy, bravery, and fearlessness we try to espouse in our students every day.  Oh, the tables had been flipped on me!  Here I am, a somewhat seasoned teacher falling trap to the same feelings I fight in my classroom.  How could I have been so...well, I don't know what the appropriate adjective is, but stupid certainly comes to mind.
5 people recommend this.


It is hard to believe that the start of school is just around the corner! It seems that no matter what channel you happen to be surfing, there never seems to be a lack of back to school commercials. Grocery stores are filled to the brim with new backpacks and school supply lists. I would imagine many are secretly dreading the end of days spent at the pool and mornings without an alarm clock.
 

Not me!

I am ready for the new school year because in just one month I will get to witness the impact Thespians can make in their community. I know what you are thinking- “My Tony in West Side Story last spring moved everyone to tears, I think that meets my quota for community changing this year.” Think again, friends! You have the opportunity to show your community what it means to be a Thespian - offstage!  

 

TOTS-EAT

4 people recommend this.

Even though the clock read 4:00AM on July 22 I was as energetic as an eight year old. The sudden burst of energy was all because I was about to embark on my first trip as an incoming International Thespian Officer.

My parents walked me through their "Travel Survival Guides" as we drove to the airport. Hugs were exchanged, and I was off to my gate. Once I landed in St. Louis I met up with Rachel Gatewood, the incoming Region III ITO, and we boarded our plane to Columbus.


After a smooth flight we met up with Liz Coin, the incoming Region II ITO, and Scott Wilson (aka Swils, one of the ITO's adult advisory members). Swils drove us our final leg of the trip to Cincinnati.

The two hour drive was finally over and we arrived at the Netherlands Plaza Hotel. Once inside the elegant building we met up with the rest of the incoming and outgoing ITO. 23 days apart called for 23 seconds of shrieks and hugs.
8 people recommend this.

Leadership Summit was held in Cincinnati, Ohio. First and foremost let me just say, that is a BEAUTIFUL city. There was live music in the evening time and the day time was lit with excitement. Little did the city know that some great information was being spread in the Netherland Plaza Hilton Hotel each night that weekend! 

For the incoming ITO there was training everyday. Something that taught me much more than expected. The outgoing ITO were so informative and very wise. They gave us real tips from the heart. Tips such as, remembering why we ran for this position and how to take care of ourselves through the stressful times. They also told us that this isn't about us, but our service to our thespians. 

My board and I got to sit in on two informative lectures on the National Arts Core Standard. A big thanks to Jim Palmarini and Randy Cohen. Your information played a huge role in the ITO coming up with our goals and values for our term this year. We later got to have lunch with both great minds and they gave us tips that we all could take home to our troupes about advocacy. 


With all that said, I met a plethora of adults dedicated to spreading and advocating for the arts because they know how beneficial it is to everyone involved. To you all, I give great thanks. Without you none of this could be accomplished. You're heroes. 
3 people recommend this.

On my flight home from the EdTA conference, I sat next to a police officer from Union Township (Cincinnati for us not locals) who had a rough day on the job. After hearing a bit about his very bad day, we finally got around to discussing that I was a theater teacher. He immediately lit up to tell me how he just took his wife to her first show, the Cameron Macintosh version of "Phantom of the Opera." Even remembering the show gave him goosebumps, and it was a great moment to see advocacy in action. Throughout the discussion he learned the difference between a regional theater and the Broadway tour, that you pay for permission to perform a show, and about the different jobs in theater. He was so excited to have someone to ask questions to and to share his own experience in high school seeing "Oklahoma" and how it affected him. He said he would love to see more, but with a newborn on an officer's salary it can sometimes be expensive. I suggested he go see some high school or college shows for a cheap date. His comment was finding about the shows was hard.
It got me thinking about my own police officer's back home...I would have loved to hand that Union Township officer and his family tickets to see my high school's show for free. But I bet there are officers with the same story back in Boston.
6 people recommend this.

Help wanted: Educator-Advocates needed to support adoption of the National Core Theatre Standards

On June 4, the new web-based National Core Arts Standards were released during a streaming webinar in which nearly three thousand individuals participated. The standards in dance, media art, music, theatre, and visual arts are the result of three years of work by the National Coalition for Arts Standards. Seventy writers and NCCAS leadership reviewed thousands of comments by teachers, administrators, parents and other that we’re received as part three public reviews. The theatre standards were created cooperatively by the Educational Theatre Association and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Like the rest of the arts standards, they’re now a 24/7 resource that teachers can use to build curriculum and assessments to them help create better arts learning and opportunities for their students. But there’s one catch: National does not mean federal. The Core Arts Standards are voluntary—that is, the adoption of standards in any discipline is a state-based process and decision. You can certainly start using these standards to reflect your teaching and your students’ learning and perhaps do a crosswalk with your state’s existing standards to see how they align. But in order for these to be YOUR standards, your state will have to adopt them, either by administrative decree or through a legislative process. And having the standards become the law of the land is important because, as an educator, how you align with them can influence your ability to grow and shape your program and be a factor in your evaluation.

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One of the main goals for our Theatre Education Community is to help theatre students and

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