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Each year as one season begins to close, we all begin looking forward to the next. I am a firm believer that choosing the right shows can be half the battle. What makes a show “right”? For many people, this answer will be different, but for me, it’s simple: a show that our community invests in. That means our students, administration, and audience all agree and will be excited about our production. I like to think of myself as the eye in the triangle, with each point of the triangle being my students, the administration, and our audience/parents respectively. It’s our job as the theatre teachers to make sure that all of these three points comes together....
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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 Jennifer Jordan, an EdTA professional member and the Director of Theater and Dance at Miss Hall’s School, an all-girls boarding and day school in Massachusetts. Jennifer always has practical advice to share and frequently follows up on questions she’s asked to let us know the outcome-we love knowing the...
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When the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) were unveiled in 2010, they were met with considerable, widespread ire. Complaints about the new standards ranged from “Students are too far behind to meet the grade appropriate standards,” to “Teachers aren’t adequately trained to teach to the new standards,” to “This initiative will only last for as long as this administration lasts.” Based on educators’ and administrations’ philosophies on education, they decided to embrace, dismiss, or halfheartedly implement the Common Core Learning Standards. As this presidential administration comes to a close, the fate of the Common Core Learning Standards is uncertain.Common...
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It certainly felt almost like heaven at the hero-themed West Virginia Thespian Festival!! I attended the conference as an EdTA representative, along with the fabulous Nevada Chapter Director, Sharon Chadwick, almost a month ago in April, and was absolutely thrilled to have attended. We arrived in the beautiful Charleston late on a Wednesday and drove into Elkins the next morning, staying on the gorgeous campus of Davis and Elkins College, where the festival was held. I was immediately welcomed by the group of the State Thespian Officers with warm, open arms, and given some initial directions around the campus. That morning, the West Virginia Thespians held...
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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 Brian Gehrlein, Troupe Director of Troupe 2758 at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Missouri. Brian is a relatively new theatre teacher (wrapping up his third year), but already has some inspiring insights to share about theatre education. Ginny: Why do you believe theatre is important? Brian:...
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Welcome to the EdTA Advocacy Update May 3, 2016 The Advocacy Update is where you can find current national and state news concerning arts advocacy and arts education EdTA NEWS April was an exciting month for EdTA’s JumpStart program as Holmes Middle School , Finneytown Middle School, and James N. Gamble Montessori each performed a musical for the first time! The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has issued an invitation for arts educators interested in serving as adjudicators of the high school student work of the high school student work collected as part of the 2015-16...
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On April 1-3, my Thespian journey came full circle as I got to finish off the festival season in the place where my love for Thespians and my journey with this amazing organization all began: California Thespian Festival. I arrived in Upland, CA on the afternoon of March 31 with my troupe (S/O to troupe 5749!!!), and headed over to Upland High School, where the festival would be held, to have one last state board meeting before the roughly 1200 California Thespian delegates would start arriving the next morning. I met up with my fellow STOs, as well as the CA Thespians adult board, including Chapter Directors Anthony Robinson and Billy Houck, and...
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Dear Mr. Shakespeare, HAPPY 400th BIRTHDAY! I just have to say that on this day I honor you with a giant - THANK YOU - for writing timeless plays which empowered me as a director to avoid the theatrical traps of “whitewashing” or “gender biasing” or “beautifying” my casts that I am seeing in our modern theatrical productions. “ Talent” has no prescribed external descriptors. Because of you, I have a wish that ALL of my theatrical peers would realize and work harder to fascilitate the development of a theatrical world wherein plays such as yours and the thousands of others that can be produced with diverse casts...without insulting cultures,...
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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 Kristie Bach, a retired theatre teacher and troupe director in Traverse City, Michigan. Kristie is also a playwright, who started her own publishing company after retiring, Purple Plays Publishing . With so much experience in our field, Kristie often has the perfect advice and a solution to any...
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HONORING DON CORATHERS THE NAME DONALD A. CORATHERS first appeared on the masthead of Dramatics magazine in the November/December issue of 1979. Six years later, in 1986, Don became editor of the Educational Theatre Association’s iconic publication. Now, 37 years and 325-plus issues later, he is retiring. In July, Don will edit his final issue of Dramatic s. Fittingly, the September 2016 issue will be the Thespian Festival retrospective issue, an event that sums up his obvious love for EdTA. It’s impossible to count how many thousands of theatre students have been influenced by the articles that have appeared...
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HALF OF MY HEAD IS IN A PHOTO WITH MY SENATOR! Yea! Half of my head is in a photo with my state senator. Really. Truly. You can see my receding hairline right here. link So what? Okay, a bit of context. Several weeks ago I attended Arts Advocacy Day , a two day marathon-like arts advocacy blitz of the nation’s capital. It was my first time to attend. I hope it won’t be my last. Here’s the skinny. THE ARTS ADVOCACY. Bombed out of my mind from jet lag after traveling for a day and a half, I half expected a small gathering of “arty” folks in a wee hotel office room. I was met instead...
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Alis Volat Propriis!

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Ah, some of you have already translated that, haven't you? (Psst, it's latin for "She Flies with her Own Wings.") It's the state motto for Oregon...ok, I didn't know it either until I had the pleasure of attending the Oregon State Thespian Festival. And what a Festival it was! From Honor Troupes with incredible community service projects to fabulous shows and an outstanding IE Showcase, Oregon Thespians are certainly flying high! Did I mention the warm welcome I received? This southern girl felt right at home as I got to talk to teachers about their curriculum and their troupes along with all the great opportunities available with EdTA. And from...
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RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY! Are you bringing your students to the Thespian Festival? Please help us conduct research regarding the positive effects of performing on self-perception and well-being! We are recruiting participants aged 12-17 to take an online survey one week before attending the Thespian Festival and a follow up survey within a few days after the festival has ended. The two surveys will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. All participants will be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card and ten winners will be chosen at random at the conclusion of the study. Academic research is a valuable part of the performing...
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A program designed to build sustainable musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools that currently have none. This is a series of monthly updates about the JumpStart Theatre pilot program launched this year in Cincinnati, Ohio. To view previous updates, click here . Class II announced. Thanks to the generous support of our funders, we were able to add three more schools to our pilot program for the 2016-17 school year. We are excited to announce our Class II schools: Felicity-Franklin Middle School, Felicity, Ohio Aiken New Tech High School, Cincinnati, Ohio Gilbert A. Dater High...
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Welcome to the EdTA Advocacy Update April 5, 2016 The Advocacy Update is where you can find current national and state news concerning arts advocacy and arts education EdTA NEWS Playworks, Musicalworks results announced : Dozens of aspiring playwrights and composers submitted an astounding range of material for this year’s Thespian Playworks and Thespian Musicalworks programs—and the judges have completed the hard task of deciding which five to invite to the 2016 International Thespian Festival , June 20-25 in Lincoln, Nebraska. STATE NEWS Got state theatre and other arts...
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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 Dianne Rowe (pictured above with students at the 2015 Thespian Festival), troupe director of Junior Thespian Troupe 88177 at Berry Middle School in Birmingham, Alabama. Dianne’s ambition and drive to further her own education has resulted in her sharing a plethora of thoughtful questions and sage advice within...
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Hey thespians! I spent last weekend in Salem, Oregon for the 2016 Oregon State Thespian Festival. This was my first time on the West Coast as well as my last thespian conference for the season! The theme of this conference was “State Wars” and it was a weekend to remember, centered around theatre and community. My first day at Festival, I had the opportunity to judge Oregon Thespian Honor Troupe presentations. The main aspect of these presentations was the “Spotlight Focus”, which essentially was an innovative community service project that a troupe created. From plays about social issues, raising money for a service dog and teaching...
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Its that magical time of the year when Florida Thespians are recovering from the four day exhaust-fest that is the State Festival; it was over a week ago and I feel like I'm still recovering. It's a good exhaustion, four days filled with incredible workshops, two amazing mainstages (the two that I saw, there were more that we didn't see) in Sunday in the Park with George and Next to Normal , and some great fellowship with my fellow teachers and theatre professionals. Straight off the festival, we came back to our class productions of Much Ado About Nothing , and Othello. And now we're working on Shrek. I cannot for the life of me work out why I'm...
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Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Florida State Thespian Festival 2016, and it was incredible. I touched down in Tampa on Wednesday, March 16 and headed downtown to meet up with EdTA Director of Chapters and Communities Diane Carr once again before heading to the conference. The theme was "The Final Frontier," and there was a fun Star Trek flavor strung throughout the festival. I spent the afternoon working at registration alongside the fabulous and dedicated student Work Crew before heading backstage at the beautiful Straz Center to speak at opening ceremonies. That evening during Minute to Give It, the generous and giving group of Florida Thespians...
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The Cast List. ( I capitalized it on purpose, for the record.) I doubt I am not the only one who has a mess of conflicted emotions stirred each time I hear the list mentioned. We talk about them before we audition, after we audition, after we see them. Though many study acting, few study reacting to that list. Bad reactions can cause unnecessary harm and, for the most part, my advice on how to react should come with common sense, yet I learned many of these lessons from my own mistakes. We have already talked about places you might be on the cast list, but now we are going to talk about when it isn't there at all. This post is going to focus on the shortly...
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