So You Wanna be an ITO?

By Katie An Siegel posted 03-28-2014 18:27


I just got an e-mail yesterday from a student interested in running for an ITO position. I thought that her questions were really valuable, and wanted to share not only the questions but the answers! Hopefully, this will help to shed some more light on becoming/ being an ITO for anyone who is interested! Please feel free to post any more questions below, or e-mail us directly! 

  1. When is the national thespian festival?
    1. June 23-28 in Lincoln, Nebraska
  2. Is it possible to run for STO and then ITO? If not, is ITO worth it more than STO?
    1. It is possible to be an STO and and ITO at the same time. 4/6 ITO this year are also STO. 
  3. How much traveling is involved in being an ITO, around what months would it frequent, and how many days at a time?
    1. It is a decent amount of travel. You will start with a trip in July to the National Leadership Summit. Here you will get to meet chapter directors, and have your first couple meetings with your board. Then, in September you go to New York City to work the Broadway Cares Flea market. Then, all ITO this year were invited to attend the National Jr. Festival. It was in February this year. We are also all going to Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. We also pick a time in February/March/ or April to have a meeting in Cincinnati. On top of that, you will travel to many state conferences. The amount of conferences the ITO travel to each year is growing. This year, we went to 39 total, which is 5 more than last year, but 15 more than 2 years ago. By the end of the year, I will have attended 9 state conferences. I think 9-10 is the max that will be attended by an individual. I believe the least is around 6. Normally, I leave on a Thursday and return on a Sunday. The exceptions to this are states like Texas, where I left on Wednesday because their festival is longer. The blessing of all of this travel is that it is covered by the Educational Theatre Association. You just have to be prepared and on top of your ITO/ STO/ and school work. I traveled starting in July 2013. My travel will end at the end of March, until June for Thespian Festival. My busiest months were January and February, I traveled almost every weekend. 
  4. What is the application process like/ how do you become an ITO?
    1. To run for a position, you need to go to If you create an account, and go to start an application, you will find under the list of schools "Thespian Festival- Lincoln, NE 2014." Then you want to select the application for International Thespian Officers. You will have a series of questions to fill out. Once you submit your portion, your troupe director will have a portion as well. This year, the application is due by April 1st. From this application, there will hopefully be a final 6 chosen for each position, which will then be narrowed down to a final 3 via phone interview. We are hoping to notify candidates selected for the top 3 spots by April 15th. Our reasoning for this is because it is a requirement to run for an ITO position, if selected for the top 3 spots, that you attend Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. Registration for that is due May 1st. We are hoping to give those selected/ not selected time to make their final registration decisions.
  5. How many applicants are you running against?
    1. The number of applicants you are running against in the beginning varies each year, and varies by position. At Thespian Festival though, if selected as one of the top 3 candidates, you would be running against 2 other students. Once you get to Thespian Festival, you will meet people in the week long leadership workshop, which your teacher needs to pre-register you for. Getting to know people is a big deal in this process. Ultimately the students will vote. A big tip that was given to me though, that I will pass to you is get to know people to know them as people and enjoy their company. When people just meet others for votes, normally it shows, and normally they are not successful. On top of getting to know people on your own, there will be a workshop time for people to come and meet the candidates. Each candidate will also be asked to give a small speech to the leadership workshop at Thespian Festival. 
  6. Personally, do you think it was hard to become an ITO?
    1. It is an intense process that is meant to find the best of the best in the country. It is a process that will grow you as a person though, and as you answer the questions, I found that I really learned a lot about myself. 
  7. Do you run for a specific member of the ITO board? 
    1. You do run for a specific position. We created a video describing each position this year, here is the link 
  8. How do you feel about being an ITO?
    1. I absolutely love being an ITO. It has given me the chance to continue to give back to an organization I love. It also gives you the chance to connect with students from all over the country, and bring their voice back to the home office. I highly recommend considering it. It is extra work, but the reward is way more than you could ever imagine. Some of the small happy moments I have had at different state festivals have been completely life changing.

Hope this helps anyone considering! Please let any of us know if you have any questions.

Best of Luck to everyone applying!