Open Forum

Subject: Thespian Inductions

1.  Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-19-2014 00:23
This is the time of year when many schools are inducting new Thespians and updating the points for current Thespians!! I am curious, what does your school do for inductions? 

My school has a big end of the year pool party where we induct our new members and take a picture of them, and then we announce the new officers! 

Does your school do anything big or different? I would love to add something new to our inductions this year and would love to hear any ideas you might have! 

Thank you so much! 
Katie Siegel
ITO Chair
Huntsville AL

2.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-22-2014 11:31
Our inductions are semi-formal and take place in the school auditorium. It is also were we have the awards the the students decided on (techie, most improved male/female, most dedicated male/female, and mvp). Additionally, there are 2 special awards in my department and the students have no say in the decision making process. The first is the Veteran Award. The only students elegible for this are involved in the program all 4 years of high school and I make the choice. I look for who has been the most involved throught their time in the school and who has worked the hardest at improving personally.

The other is the Grandma Schwartz Award. My mom is very involved in sponsoring my department (making costumes, props, and providing treats for the kids at every night of performance). She also designs original teddy bears and creates one for a single senior every year that represents the production that was personally the most significant for him or her. This person is the best example of everything being a thespian is. My mom and I discuss the seniors and come to an agreement. It is the most coveted item in my department. Last year the senior recieved a bear that reflected back to his first major role as the Creature in Frankenstein and this year the girl will receive a bear with 2 costumes, one from when she was the assistant director in fall and the other dressed in a replica of her role as Charlotte Lucas this spring.

Finally, I award seniors their graduation honors, announce the season for next year, and we officially announce the new president for the following school year. We finish the night by inviting the seniors to take the stage for the last time as members of I.T.S.

Hope this helps!  :)
Shira Schwartz
Chandler Unified School District
Chandler AZ

3.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-23-2014 08:41
Those are some GREAT ideas Shira. It's wonderful that you've worked hard to create many opportunities for recognition. I commend you on that. LOVE the Grandma Schwartz award. What a sweet tribute and legacy. (If you haven't done so, she's the kind of person that deserves to be an Honorary Thespian in your troupe.)

I've been to induction ceremonies where the prior inductees put the pins on the new ones. I've seen the Principal hand the certificates and induction pins out. I've seen the Troupe President light the first inductee's candle and then had that flame passed to each successive new inductee candle by candle. There are unlimited possibilities.

Please keep sharing your ceremony ideas. These are things the national office can pass on to others via the troupe handbooks and when we get inquiries from your peers. I can't wait to keep reading more posts on this topic.

David LaFleche
Director Of Membership
Educational Theatre Association
Cincinnati OH

4.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-23-2014 11:36

We celebrate our inductions with a "banquet" and an awards ceremony.  The banquet is a potluck in our cafeteria which I have found parents really appreciate as it is a low-cost and easy alternative to the highly organized and catered affairs many of our athletic teams host.  Attire is business casual with the exception of seniors who wear Prom Attire (prom dresses or suits).Then we move into the Mainstage auditorium (which is close by) and have the awards program.  We celebrate those who are inducted--as they sign the Thespian roster they are given their certificate and then each individually takes their first bow as an official Thespian on our Mainstage. We recognize Honor Thespians, etc., view a slide show of the past season, and then our seniors are invited on stage for Final Bow. They line up stage right and I have previously asked them to fill out a small sheet of paper with their full name and where they are going to school and their intended course of study or other plans upon graduation.  My tech director and I announce each senior by reading their name and intentions, they move center stage and take their Final Bow individually on Mainstage and then a Final Company Bow.  (Often a highlight for picture taking parents.) After this, next year's season and the new officers are announced.  It is a fairly simple and lovely evening of good food and celebration. We are usually done by about 8 o'clock, which is also appreciated as we do this on a school night.

Hope this helps.
Holly Thompson
Worthington Kilbourne High School

5.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 05-04-2014 11:28
I loved the idea for a senior final bow!  We did it last night and it was a huge success.  I added their "favorite line".  During warm-ups before a show, we have a few minutes for "favorite lines".  One person says a favorite line (could be their own...usually it's someone else's) and everyone else repeats that line.  So, after I introduced each senior and said what their final plans were for next year, each said their favorite line which was then repeated by the entire group of parents and students.  Some lines were from recent shows, some from several years ago.  One was a comment that was said in the tech booth.

Also, I stole the Golden Hanger award idea from one of you--and that went over well. Especially since the person who was announcing the award was almost notorious for losing costume pieces. (I love irony!)

And a last comment on awards.  We do 2 shows a year and for each show we give out featured actor/actress, supporting actor/actress, principal actor/actress, gypsy or ensemble award and tech awards as well.  I create a Google Ballot --(multiple choice questions).  Every student's name is on the ballot somewhere for whatever category they participated in principal actor, ensemble, stage or prop crew, costume or makeup.  The Google Ballot is great because it tallies the votes for you!  I also created a fill-in section for nominations for "Best Coverup".

My students decided that if a person wins best featured actor for the musical, then he cannot win best featured actor in the play as well.  This way, many people were recognized and the trophies were spread among many kids.  We also give out a lot of certificated awards as well--and they decided that one person couldn't "win" more than 3 awards.  

Our awards went really well last night and many parents told me how much they liked the addition of senior bows and really liked how many students were recognized at the event.

Thanks for all the ideas!

Cindy Skelton
Drama Teacher
San Mateo Union High School District
Burlingame CA

6.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-23-2014 17:22

I continue traditions that were passed down to me by my Thespian troupe sponsor when I was inducted over 30 years ago.  I've added a few personal touches, but the format is close. 

The whole process is kept as a mystery for the inductees.  In short, inductees have been given a monologue to prepare (yes, even techies).  When they arrive, the only see me and one of the Thespian officers and we meet in the choir room.  They are given a slip of paper showing their cue line and instructed to be frozen before and after their monologue.  When ready, they are escorted into the dimly lit auditorium, placed in their marks on stage, I make the pronouncement from the Short Ceremony, and the 1st monologue begins as they are hit with the spot light.  Each inductee is hit with the spot for his/her monologue and frozen until the end.  At the end of the monologues, the Troupe President has appeared on stage and picks up with the brief ceremony declarations and then administers the oath.  Inductees say the oath, sign the official roll, receive their certificate and a pin, and are escorted to the drama room, which has been transformed with lights and decorations into a unique place for our banquet.  We try to recreate an after-hours restaurant for theatre people. 

After dinner, we announce the Honor, National, and International Thespians, as well as any school awards (we've had a Theatre Arts student of the year award, but that may be phased out in favor of an overall Fine Arts award).  Then, it's time for the Willies, which are my personal "gag" awards. We haven't given traditional "Best Actor/Actress" awards because we only produce 2 plays a year and the feeling is we need a bigger pool of nominees before we start giving out such awards.   I choose some shared inside joke, things like  the "I Survived the Shriner's Ballet" award or "Best Bleeding in a Major Role" (given when an actor missed his mark and walked INTO his stage slap in performance).  At the end of the Willies, I award the Most Valuable Thespian award, for work done over the past 4 years, in class and in production (we've had extra-curricular and co-curricular productions). 

From there, we go back into the theatre and form a circle on the stage, with the inductees in the middle.  The rest of the Thespians then present the "Voices of the Theatre."  Each Thespian has 2 lines - they can be dialogue or short references to memorable occurrences.  (The order is assigned before the ceremony).  Then a graduating senior (not necessarily the president or one of the leads, but someone who has always worked hard) reads/recites Puck's last speech from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and we end our ceremony.

Last year, we added a "movie night" portion.  We all sit on the stage and watch a movie projected onto the scrim as a last "bonding" time that involves the outgoing, returning, and incoming Thespians.      

The formal dress, monologue performances, the air of mystery, Most Valuable Thespian, Voices of the Theatre, and Puck's Speech all come from my high school days as a Thespian.  Holding the ceremony and banquet at school, the Willies, and the movie night are things that have developed over the years. Thespian traditions started at our school when I came to teach theatre and established a Thespian troupe in the school's 2nd year and they've continued since then.  Time will tell what traditions stay and which ones leave once I'm gone at the end of this year. I've considered a less formal, family based ceremony, making it a public event, but the students like the exclusivity, that "after hours" feel that we have (we're normally the only campus activity that night), and consider the production performances to be our "public" time.  I started the Willies as a surprise for the 1st year students and expected to hand them off to the "established" Thespians the next year but they wanted me to continue doing them instead (they stated they looked forward to them and would miss them if they became awarded by students).  It's always fun to see what traditions students hold dear and what new ones they want to start.    

A little nervousness and excitement for the inductees and a lot of memories and nostalgia for all. All in all, a special night.

7.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-24-2014 16:58
Hi Katie(:

With my schools inductions, we have an end of the year Banquet! All the ITS senior members receive candles that are lit, while members who will be inducted receive unlit candles. The senior ITS members then get to light the candles of the members being inducted and then get to blow out there own. Each new member is then introduced and steps forward.
I love this idea because it helped me understand that this organization has so much history behind it. I believe it was formed in 1929, and the seniors lighting your candles and passing on their legacy kind of symbolized a new generation it seems and foot prints to fill!
I personally love this idea, but I'm not sure how well it may go at a pool party(;

Best of Luck! 

Rachel Gatewood
McKinney TX

8.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-24-2014 23:40
My school puts on spring inductions in the morning an end of the year banquet in the evening. Inductions are very traditional, with the current thespians holding candles and reciting a script, while the new inductees light their own candle and sign our charter.

Every year it is always fun to pick who we want to induct, as it forms a timeless bond between the two.

We like to switch up the venue for the banquet every year. For example my freshmen year we had a pizza party, last year we went to the zoo, and this year we are hosting Drama Prom. The activities remain the same regardless of the location, we announce superlatives and the historian presents their end of the year video. In coinciding with Drama Prom, this year our awards are Oscar themed!

I will have to pitch the pool party idea for next years, thanks Katie!

Alex Minton
Omaha NE

9.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-25-2014 05:36
There are some great ideas here! We are no longer allowed to use live flame (candles) for our inductions. Lighting electric candles just doesn't seem the same. Does anyone else have this restriction? What do you do? ------------------------------------------- Kit Rodgers New Hampshire Chapter Co-Director Dover NH -------------------------------------------

10.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-26-2014 12:58
Hey Katie! So at the end of every year my troupe has a "Thespian Banquet". It's a night of laughs, good company, and a few tears for the leaving seniors. The night consists of a sit down dinner, the "Starr" Awards (a play on my schools name, Starr's Mill), and paying homage to our graduating family members. Each year we rent out either the ball room of a hotel or ask to use a member's neighborhood clubhouse to host the ceremony. As the meal is reaching an end, our director begins the program. He starts by announcing each members points and awarding them with the corresponding honors, then announcing the upcoming year's Thespian Board. We then move into the Starr Awards. There are several categories ranging from most improved performer in an Intro to Drama class to Best Leading Actress- Musical Theatre. He has tried to model the Awards after the Tonys. A list of Nominations is announced, then the adult production team votes on the recipients of the awards. After all the honors have been awarded, we move into the bitter sweet part of the evening. Each year my director gives "senior superlatives" of sorts, teasing them one last time on some quirky or embarrassing thing that has happened to them during their high school career. The underclassmen then present their "farewell video". The underclassmen tell the seniors one final goodbye, sharing all the memories and stories that will forever bind them. The evening then comes to an end with the induction of the upcoming members, or the future our society so to speak, ending the night with the perfect celebration of the love and success of the year past.

Matthew Reindl
Peachtree City GA

Sent via Higher Logic Mobile

11.  Inductions

Posted 04-26-2014 13:20
We started something new 2 years ago and it's been a big hit.  For each candle that is lit you could put a rose or flower in a vase, instead. So, for each "we light this candle in honor or dance", etc., we pull someone from this past year to do what is every being honored, such as this year, we are doing a dance that was in our fall play, "in honor of speech"  we are doing a speech from our variety show, etc.   Then we don't read the whole entire "in honor of".  It makes things so much more interesting and brings it to life for the kids.  The parents loved it. 

Carol Allen
Head Drama Sponsor
Mahomet IL

12.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-28-2014 17:07
Our induction ceremony is combined with general Drama Club Awards and sounds  a lot like what Shira described. However, instead of the really unique "Grandma Schwartz" Award, we have some gag awards ("Golden hanger"  for actors who treat their costumes well.), and some Director's awards for outstanding work by students not recognized by the student voted awards.

For our ceremony we have the tradition that all new inductees perform a 1-2 min monologue of their choosing (does not have to be memorized, I provide Shakespearean cuttings with their inductee invite which most students choose), then then light a candle in our Thespian candelabra. After all have gone through that process, all Thespians recite the pledge together. 

Abigail Kean
Kettle Moraine High School
Delafield WI

13.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 04-28-2014 18:44
Our Spring Show, which is senior directed, always takes place over one weekend and only two shows.

I combine this with both ITS Inductions and our next season announcement.  During intermission on the first night, I hold an informal ITS induction during intermission where I give the students their certificates and cards and acknowledge any honors.  It's neat and takes no longer than 15 minutes. Then we go right back into Act II.  

During intermission on Saturday night, I announce the shows for the following years. 

Doing this setup brings a whole lot of people to both of the student directed show.  It works well.


Director of Theatre
Cranbrook Kingswood School
Bloomfield HillsMI

14.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 05-08-2014 00:40
Our school just did our Induction Ceremony tonight and it was wonderful! 

Every year it's different but this year we did a pot luck and chose a theme of food- Italian. Everyone brought their favorite Italian dishes and our former Italian foreign exchange student (who was inducted into our troupe last year) just happened to be back and made us some of his famous lasagna!

We always do the traditional lighting of the candles and have them say their oaths. We then proceed to announcing our new officers and then awards! (best actor, actress, tech.) At the end of it all we play a slide show summarizing our wonderful year and also as a good bye to our seniors. It's so much fun and it's a tradition that is looked forward to every year!

Adriana Medina
Placitas NM

15.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 05-09-2014 10:42
I have AMAZING theatre moms, so for lunch (yesterday, incidentally) they provided a feast for our Thespian Inductions/Awards and decked out our black box as a banquet room. Ran a photo slideshow during the meal of pics from the season. We had lunch and parents were invited to attend following the meal.

We do the simple induction ceremony--no candles anymore--that my president & I oversee. We recognize District highlights, State Superiors, theatre scholarship recipients, induct new members (pinning, pledge, sign the membership role), award senior chords & honor medallions, recognize current officers, confer new ones, my officers award "people's choice" awards and read nominees/announce winners. Then I give out a few awards for outstanding students including Thespian of the Year.

Induction week:
- Officers "knight" the week before in front of the entire cafeteria
- Optional dress-up days for the week
- Optional performance requests (recite a soliloquy from Shakespeare upon request, etc)
- Current Thespians serve as mentors
- Luncheon culminates the week (essentially)

Partly wanted to get this written out for my own records, but it worked beautifully this year. No angry admins/teachers and no one has to attend another evening event in crazy-busy May.

Suzanne Livesay
7-12 Grade Theatre Director
The First Academy
Orlando FL

16.  RE:Thespian Inductions

Posted 05-08-2014 10:53
Our school had a no-hat rule so allowing our new Thespians to wear their Thespian beanies was a big deal. They also wore a sign that said "Ask me about Thespians." It made our induction and initiation more visible in the school. The inductees were given a list of impressive facts about troupe accomplishments and the value of theatre in general. Their answers became an advocacy project! Keep your awards and induction activities visible in your school. Induction day ended with an awards banquet. Invite administrators and parents to this event. ------------------------------------------- Lana Hagan Department of Theatre/Dance Southern Illinois Univ. Edwardsville/retired Clayton MO -------------------------------------------