February 6, 2013
The Board of Directors of the Educational Theatre Association spent a day focused on the organization’s strategic priorities for 2013 during its January face-to-face meeting, and then approved the fiscal 2013 operating budget to implement them.
The board was briefed by EdTA staff members on strategic initiatives in the areas of member involvement and diversity, technology, and organizational stature. Among the highlights:
- The staff is working on a comprehensive remodeling of EdTA’s Schooltheatre.org website in an effort to simplify navigation and clarify content. For the 2013-14 school year, the site will introduce a new community-based member experience designed to support a higher level of engagement and online networking.
- EdTA continues to play a leadership role in the development of National Core Arts Standards for theatre and is working with partners in various states in an effort to establish theatre as an element of Career and Technical Education, or CTE.
- The Membership Department is pursuing a number of tactics to expand and diversify membership, including distribution of targeted complimentary pre-professional memberships to graduating high school Thespians. Thespian Society membership has been particularly strong, growing steadily for more than ten years. The total number of Thespian troupes, for example, has increased by almost one-third, from 3,144 to 4,152, since 2000.
- The Send a Troupe fundraising campaign, which seeks to promote diversity by underwriting the cost of Thespian Festival attendance for Thespian troupes that couldn’t otherwise attend, was so successful in its first year that the fundraising goal was doubled for year two.
- The touring outreach and fundraising event “Making Magic, Defying Gravity,” which features performers from the first national touring company of Wicked, three EdTA board members, and student talent recruited locally in the cities the show plays, has raised $25,000 for scholarships and reached more than 1,600 people. “Making Magic” will continue in 2013, including a stop in Lincoln, Nebraska, where it will kick off the Thespian Festival.
- EdTA’s relationship with Acceptd, the performing arts college application network, made it possible to launch a searchable online database version of the annual Dramatics College Theatre Directory.
The 2013 budget approved by the board includes revenues and operating expenses totaling about $4.6 million each, with a small projected surplus. In other business, the board:
- Reappointed Disney executive Matt Conover to a three-year term on the board.
- Approved a measure establishing an ad hoc committee to study ways of identifying and selecting future candidates for appointed board seats. Board President Gloria McIntyre appointed Gai Jones to chair the committee and Conover and Stephen Gregg to serve on it. McIntyre and Vice President Jay Seller will serve as ex officio members.
- Approved a revision to the EdTA Membership Policy, intended to clarify the definition of a school for the purpose of establishing eligibility to charter a Thespian troupe.