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The Advocacy Update is where you can find current national and state news concerning arts advocacy and arts education EdTA NEWS Cincy, KY Middle Schools Tapped for New Theater Program : Finneytown and James N. Gamble Montessori schools in Cincinnati and Holmes Middle School in Covington were tapped as the first three schools for the JumpStart program, a scalable new pilot program designed to build sustainable theater education in underserved schools that do not have a performing arts program. The pilot project is co-sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association, Music Theatre International, and iTheatrics. ( Cincinnati.com...
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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 Raenell Smith, a Speech, Theatre and English teacher at Whiteland Community High School in Whiteland, Indiana. Raenell regularly offers creative solutions on everything from make-up hygiene to special effects. As a one-person theatre program, there doesn’t seem to be an aspect of theatre she hasn’t...
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Just a Year Later...

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It was almost exactly one year ago, that Exec Director Julie then Woffington, now Theobald, and I traveled to a variety of schools around Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing and Hangzhou as part of an exploratory effort to launch the Educational Theatre Association into the vast untapped market for thespians and theatre education that is China. Today, the team at Dipont Educational Management, led by Jeff Zhu, has started to plant roots across part of this country. And the fruits of that work are evidenced by several student theatre festivals now being held under the banner of EdTA China! This is such an exciting step for all involved -- EdTA in the US, Dipont and...
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We can't tell you everything we know about putting on a school play in a single blog post, but we can try to hit some quick highlights. Here's the basic process of taking a play from the script you've selected to that first public performance, as smoothly and enjoyably as possible. FIGURE OUT THE TECH FIRST You can do most plays, especially when the scripts are geared towards school plays and educational theatre, without any serious set building. There are plenty of plays that have minimal costume and prop requirements, too—and plenty that can definitely benefit from a little extra assistance in the technical department. Decide what's best for your...
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As another school year races to an end (or perhaps drags on like a slug in mud), many high school and college students begin their search for a summer job. When I was in this position, I decided my incredibly boring job as a K-Mart cashier was not for me and set off in search of something better. I didn’t want to dread my summer work, I wanted to learn something and enjoy it. I also wasn't big on summer stock or being far away from friends and family, so my theatre options were limited. Fortunately, the skills I learned in theatre classes were able to guide me down a path filled with satisfying and unusual jobs, even if they weren't in direct alignment...
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The Advocacy Update is where you can find state and national news about theatre and other arts education news EdTA NEWS Festival’s Thespian Playworks in Need of Players and Workers : The plays are chosen, the staff is on board, and the rehearsal and performance schedules set. Now all that’s missing from Thespian Playworks is you! We’re seeking student actors, stage managers, tech/design types, and more to get our four outstanding student scripts on their feet during Festival week. Sign up today! NATIONAL NEWS National Endowment for the Arts Awards $74 Million in Grants : The National Endowment for the Arts Wednesday...
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In a time of budget cuts and global economic competition, many pundits and politicians are questioning the wisdom of arts programs in schools. And as elections approach, the debate about the place and value of the arts in our schools and communities is vibrantly on the agenda. As teachers, directors and those working in the creative arts, we are all too familiar with science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) being considered to be the subjects that have "real value." So, as we go headfirst into election season, let’s consider why the performing arts are so valuable. It’s good to say these things out loud sometimes! Ask any teacher—or any...
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At our school, we were tickled to see an article published in the local paper about our recent production of 'West Side Story.' Tickled, because being at the edge of a very large district in the middle of former tomato fields and a huge transitory migrant population, no one really pays attention to us. Which is fine, we're good with that. We are a fledgling theatre program in a high poverty, rural area. My students often have no experience of theatre before they come to me, so we're a little disadvantaged when we go to competitions against student populations who've been doing it since they could crawl, but they have heart. It also isn't the end of the world...
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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 Matthew Denney, an EdTA pre-professional member, college student at University of Nevada-Reno, and Thespian Alum of Troupe 6730. Matthew is studying to become a theatre educator and has started some fantastic discussions within the Community. Ginny: As a college theatre student, what...
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The Advocacy Update is where you can find state and national news about theatre and other arts education EdTA NEWS Board Weighs EdTA Foundation : Responding to a presentation by Director of Development Marion Combs, the Board of Directors of the Educational Theatre Association has appointed a task force to study the feasibility of reactivating the EdTA Foundation. The foundation was established in 1996 and deactivated nine years later. NATIONAL NEWS Senate Committee unanimously passes ESEA reauthorization bill: On April 16, the Senate HELP Committee advanced the legislation, enabling it to be next considered on...
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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 Helen Dixon, troupe director of Troupe 3058 at Liberty High School in Brentwood, California. Helen is always happy to provide advice on play selection, theatre classroom work and requirements, and perhaps the most popular Community topic: Shrek . Ginny: Why do you believe theatre...
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EdTA has been engaging in an ongoing dialogue with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards leadership, educating them about our membership and the high level of interest in certification. As part of the discussion, EdTA hosted a town hall webinar discussion with three NBPTS staff members: Kristin Hamilton, Director of Standards, Michaela Miller, Director of Outreach and Engagement, and Indira Cureton-Cummings, a Board-certified theatre educator who co-chaired the revision of organization's revised Career and Technical Education (CTE) exam. EdTA Executive Director Julie Woffington also participated in the webinar. You can listen to...
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Jim Palmarini, EdTA’s Director of Educational Policy, graciously invited me to join this forum to share some updates with you regarding National Board Certification. My name is Kristin Hamilton, and I am the Director of Standards for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. I am also a Board-certified teacher in English language arts. I am joined by my co-author, Indira Cureton-Cummings, a Board-certified drama director from Columbia, South Carolina. The National Board certifies teachers in 25 areas that span 16 content areas and 4 student developmental levels. While the Board does not offer a stand-alone theatre education certificate,...
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The Advocacy Update is where you can find state and national news about theatre and other arts education EdTA NEWS Playworks, Musicalworks Winners Chosen : Thespian Playworks and Thespian Musicalworks celebrate outstanding student voices from across the US, Canada, and beyond. The professionals who reviewed this year’s submissions summed up the winning entries in one word: ambition. Four plays and one musical in the making have been selected for development and staging at the 2015 Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. EdTA Selects JumpStart Theatre Schools : The Educational Theatre Association, Music Theatre International,...
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Are you interested in rubrics, inter-rater reliability and all things standards? Then here’s an opportunity that might interest you: The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) is seeking educators interested in serving on a team that will benchmark student work generated by the 2015 Model Cornerstone Assessment Pilot Project. The Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) are performance-based assessments designed in conjunction with the newly released National Core Arts Standards at the grades of 2, 5, 8 and three high school levels. Partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the first phase...
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One of the hardest things to manage as a new theatre instructor and troupe director is one’s patience. You get to that certain point where you’re thinking, “I’ve done A, B, and C, so the alphabet should be finished now! Why isn’t Z happening?” And then you get all cracked out stressed, and, if you’re European and in your thirties, you might do what I do and go and listen to some loud, banging techno. Or EDM. Or whatever American’s pigeonhole my favorite ‘band’ The Prodigy as. We live in The Age of Instant, where you order something, and bam, it’s there. Amazon’s whole business model is built upon the fact that when we order something, we want it in...
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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 Michael Bergman, troupe director of Troupe 7639 at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. Michael always has perfect show suggestions for any situation, practical advice and thoughtful questions. Photo via KFC Ginny: Why do you believe theatre is important? Michael:...
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It's that time of year again, scholarships, college selections, and maybe your last International Thespian Festival! Oh no!!!!!! Well this time last year, I was in your shoes. I'm here to tell you don't worry, you can still be involved in Thespians, theatre, and advocate for the arts even when you're not in high school. So let me give you some tips on being an alumni and continuing to help out other fellow theatre students in your area. 1) It doesn't have to be over. So often you'll hear alumni saying "I wish I could do more theatre, but there's just no time." let me just make it clear... YOU CAN STILL BE INVOLVED IN THEATRE. Just because you're...
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Last Weekend I had so much fun at the West Virginia Festival! The theme was Hunger Games and the odds definitely played in our favor! West Virginia is so interesting in how they run their Festival because it originally started as a One Act type competition and eventually evolved into the West Virginia Thespian Festival! It was so awesome to see so many different schools showcase their talent! Another unique quality about West Virginia is that it is hosted at the State Capital! Tech IE's were on display in the Lobby where senators work and there were so many advocacy opportunities. I admire West Virginia in the fact that the state donates $10,000...
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Arts Advocacy- More To Do

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In theatre we are constantly telling a story. Our story talks about the power of theatre and the impact it has on the lives of the students we teach and the community that supports them. Stories can fill the hearts and souls of those that support the arts. But without solid facts that help solidify the impact of the arts, the impact of what we can accomplish can be limited. In the days leading up to the Arts Advocacy Day, I and the other members of the Nevada State Board were hosting our state festival. On the first full day of the conference we were interviewing the STO candidates about what theatre has done for them. ...
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