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An Egg-selent Weekend!

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“Last one there’s a rotten egg!” Why am I always the rotten egg? Well this egg was egg-static (Sorry, I’ll leave the puns to Ryan) when I met up with the Ms. Staples and the ITO gang at baggage claim! I touched down, ran out of the terminal, gave hugs, and we were on our way! I knew I was home as we drove across the bridge to downtown Cincinnati and there were ten other bridges staring back at me. With my face stuck to the window, the drive was quick, and, before I knew it, I was home. Well, the EdTA Home Office that is. The amazing Ms. Diane Carr greeted us as we entered and we were off. Meeting with the EdTA staff was amazing, and...
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February 27, 2017 The winner of this year’s Democracyworks essay competition is Lance Junck, a student at Branson (Missouri) High School, Troupe 3482. First runner-up is Hannah Goforth, Myers Park High School, Charlotte, North Carolina, Troupe 780, and second runner-up is Phanesia Pharel, South Dade Senior High School, Homestead, Florida, Troupe 3637. The winner earns $250 cash and a trip to Arts Advocacy Day , the annual Washington, D.C. gathering of arts advocates from throughout the country. The runners-up also receive cash awards and certificates of recognition. As the winner, Junck and a chaperone will participate in one day of advocacy training...
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Originally published February 22, 2017 Theatre in Our Schools Month (TIOS) is a grassroots effort to draw attention to the benefits of having theatre in the schools, as well as the need for more access to quality programs for all students. For 2017, the national spokesperson is Kevin Kline, who, in a video in support of the campaign , points out that in this digital age, the lessons that theatre provides for communications skills are more critical than ever. Kline is an actor of tremendous range and versatility who first performed in high school. Beginning March 17th he can be seen in the film version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast , and...
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Once again, the ITO had the opportunity to come together to see each other at the EDTA Home Office located in Cincinnati, OH just this last weekend. Our travels started early in the morning and, slowly but surely, we were all reunited one by one in the CVG airport baggage claim. An odd place to reunite, but hey, we make due! We set off to the hotel, and from there headed to the Home Office where we had the opportunity of sitting down with each department of EDTA. Shortly through the meeting, fellow ITO, Brittany Smith and I excused ourselves for a short photography session with David LaFleche (the Director of Membership) for all the wonderful graduation gear...
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“Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, 'There's no place like home.” And you’ll be back at the EdTA Home Office! This past weekend the ITO got back together again, reuniting in Cincinnati, Ohio, along with our mentors Kimberly Staples and Scott Wilson. We were joined by our program director Ms. Diane Carr, and as soon as we were settled in our hotel, headed over to the EdTA headquarters. That day we had the opportunity to meet with EdTA staff members (ranging from all four floors of the building!) and further a lot of our ideas for the International Thespian Festival in June. The day capped...
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Last weekend I had the great pleasure of putting on my ITO cap yet again to attend South Carolina Thespian Festival! The fabulous Ruben Van Kempen (EdTA representative from Washington State) and I arrived at the beautiful arts facility at Dorman High School in Roebuck, SC last Friday for day one of the festival. We had a great time that first day speaking to thespian troupes that were trickling in from all over the state, and enjoying the fabulous one act shows being performed on the main stage. On day two of festival I had a great time teaching my two workshops (The Psychology of Leadership and N.A.P.S.) to some amazing student leaders. I have to say that...
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As I drove to the airport on Friday, February 17, I was buzzing with excited energy because I was about to see my 5 best friends in a few short hours!!!! It had been almost 5 long months since we had all been together, and I was ready to crush them all in a big group hug (which happened and was glorious). We hopped in the rental van and headed to the home office to begin our first set of meetings. After productive meetings with each of the departments from the home office, we headed to our hotel to drop our bags and then went off to explore Cincinnati. We stopped at our (now) group favorite ice cream spot, Graeters, and had our dessert first. Then...
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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 in Cincinnati, Ohio. To view previous updates, click here . Pledge Tees for JumpStart Theatre: At a new middle school event in California, Junior Theatre Festival West , conducted by partners, EdTA and iTheatrics, iTheatrics sold special pledge tees to benefit the JumpStart Theatre program. The design and the decision to commit the proceeds to JumpStart Theatre were approved by Stephen Sondheim himself. The shirts...
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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 in Cincinnati, Ohio. To view previous updates, click here . Last call to join Class III: If you know a Cincinnati-area middle school who would want to be part of the JumpStart Theatre program, the deadline is tomorrow, February 1. The application is available here . Bootcamp 2: Our second Bootcamp of the 2016-17 school year was held last Friday, January 27, at the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts. Teachers...
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Hello fellow Arts Advocates This last weekend the Minnesota Conference took place. We had been working hard all year and it finally took place!! So I thought that i would post a blog for others to see and kinda get an idea of what the Minnesota conference looks like. It is a two day event this year taking place on Feb 19th and 20th, this year was also our conferences 9th year. The theme this year was #whatsyOURstory it uses your and our "whats y(our) story. We focused on being the director, actor, the light tech, stage crew, stage manager, choreographer , etc. and I will get more into this later but will begin by talking about the prep up to Sunday...
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After five long month's of interaction solely through conference calls, text messages, and letters, us ITO were more than ready to be reunited! I boarded my plane bright and early on Friday morning to depart for Cincinnati, Ohio and the much awaited Home Office meeting. As we began to land, we set a meeting point and counted down the moments until we would all be together again! Finally, after we all had arrived, we reunited and hopped in our wonderfully stylish humungous burgundy mini van and rode (in style) to grab a quick bite to eat. From here, we immediately headed over the the BEAUTIFUL Home Office where we had the pleasure...
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Welcome to the EdTA Advocacy Update February 21, 2017 The Advocacy Update is where you can find current national and state news concerning arts advocacy and arts education EdTA NEWS 2017 International Thespian Festival : Registration is now open ! Event coordinators anticipate 4,500 delegates at this year’s event, taking place June 19-24 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Festival’s home for more than 20 years. Register by May 1, 2017! NATIONAL NEWS Arts Groups Draft Battle Plans as Trump Funding Cuts Loom : Listeners across the country were warned that many of the radio stations they were tuned...
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After several years of this rodeo and the crushing weight of expectation and headaches that is the cast list announcement, we decided to try something vaguely different for our upcoming Spring musical production of 'Zorro the Musical.' By this point in our program's life, our students know the general expectations of behavior, and have also been relentlessly coached on dealing with disappointment. They also know that, unlike real life, we do really try as a program to rotate as much as possible through different performers, in order to give as many people as possible the chance to shine and to grow, which also means we typically double cast our lead roles....
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Seneca Valley’s Spring 2016 production of Ax of Murder 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 Amber Hugus, a theatre teacher and troupe director at Seneca Valley High School in Harmony, Pennsylvania, home to Troupe 2094. Amber’s program includes a large number of students, interested in both acting and tech roles, which allows...
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February 2, 2017. I arrived at school at 8 AM eager to help my company load up our twenty-eight foot UHaul with the set of our production, “Ghost the Musical.” Finishing up load around 11 with the work of my amazing company, we began to head down to Blacksburg, Virginia towards Virginia Tech, aka home of the 2017 VA Thespian Festival! After a 4 hour bus ride, my company and I arrived at our hotel to drop off our luggage, then we jumped right back on the bus to head to downtown Blacksburg and begin our load in. We pulled into the Haymarket Theater where we were greeted by the wonderful Virginia Tech Staff who would prove to be an immense...
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Broadcast Your Voice!

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This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Georgia ThesCon! I’ve had my eye on attending this festival since I was first elected as ITO Vice Chair last year, and after an intense decision-making process, I was happy to declare MacKenzie Staples (both ITO At-Large and Georgia STO Vice Chair) and I would the be representative attending this state. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and was picked up at the airport by Mac herself, whom I had not seen for over four months. We headed to Columbus, where the conference was being held, and met up with several of the other Georgia STOs. After a fun evening of dining and dishing on Thespian...
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Welcome to the EdTA Advocacy Update February 7, 2017 The Advocacy Update is where you can find current national and state news concerning arts advocacy and arts education EdTA NEWS ADVOCACY ALERT : Whether you have specific concerns about arts, arts education or any other national, state, or local policy issues that might affect your work, we are here to support you with the most accurate and updated tools and knowledge we can provide. 2017 Festival registration open : Registration is now open for the 2017 International Thespian Festival. Event coordinators anticipate 4,500 delegates at this year’s event, taking...
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OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKlahoma Thespian Festival was a blast this weekend! When I arrived, I was introduced to the first ever Oklahoma State Thespian Officer board. These students were leaders within their troupe and specially selected to represent their state this year. They kicked off their festival with an awesome skit and even invited me to appear as the “Senior Camp Counselor.” I helped present the “Get to’s” (rather than rules) for the weekend, and then we were off! Earlier that morning, students had presented their I.E.s with the hopes of being selected to perform at the International Thespian Festival, but now it was...
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As part of our program's mission, we quickly recognized that part of our job is to help our audience and community better understand the how and why of theatre . For many in our community, we are their first exposure to theatre and that's a big responsibility! While we want to turn single-ticket buyers into repeat visitors, we desire to build a deeper relationship with our audiences that enables them to become life-long theatre participants. The director's note is an important piece of making your audiences part of the artistic inner circle by helping them develop a deeper understanding of the theatrical process, how to think about theatre , and...
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February 1, 2017 Registration is now open for the 2017 International Thespian Festival. Event coordinators anticipate 4,500 delegates at this year’s event, taking place June 19-24 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Festival’s home for more than 20 years. Thespians attending Festival are invited to audition for the event’s national cast opening show, We Tell the Story: A Celebration of the Works of Ahrens & Flaherty . The production allows students to work on Festival’s main stage alongside Broadway writers, actors, and musicians. Participants arrive early at Festival and produce the show in just 48 hours. This year,...
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