Open Forum

ITS Troupe Ideas

  • 1.  ITS Troupe Ideas

    Posted 04-10-2019 08:11
    Hi geniuses!

    I am working on a proposal for administration to approve chartering an ITS Troupe at our school!  We are a K-12 school so I'm hoping to add on a Junior Thespian Troupe later on.

    I don't anticipate issues from administration, but ITS is pretty open-ended.  I know admin will want to see concrete examples of what we can do with this organization.  Does anyone have ideas/suggestions for us?  I have 22 high school kids interested, so I plan to have a brainstorm meeting with them as well.  Thanks in advance for you help!

    Elizabeth Austin
    Middle School Theatre Teacher
    Chattanooga Christian School
    Chattanooga TN

  • 2.  RE: ITS Troupe Ideas

    Posted 04-10-2019 11:42
    Good for you! Here are some of the things my high schoolers in ITS do:

    - earn graduation honors that are worn at the ceremony
    - scholarships (both for use in their applications in academic scholarships and theatre based ones)
    - high academic standards from students involved
          (this year I have 33 AP exams between the 20 kids in my adv class - all of whom are in ITS)
    - teachers and reinforces cooperative learning, business skills, understanding of hard deadlines, self esteem building,etc
    -  produces main stage productions
    - earns money

    Hopefully this will help you get started. You can message me if you want more specifics on anything, Good luck!

    Shira Schwartz
    Chandler Unified School District
    Chandler AZ

  • 3.  RE: ITS Troupe Ideas

    Posted 04-11-2019 08:13
    Yay for new troupes! Good for you! Have you checked the resources on the EdTA website? They have a sample letter to your principal, and lots of other good resources.

    Dianne Rowe
    Theatre Arts Teacher
    Junior Thespian Troupe 88177
    Berry Middle School
    Birmingham, AL

  • 4.  RE: ITS Troupe Ideas

    Posted 04-11-2019 13:58
    In addition to what Shira and Dianne have posted, I'll say that an active ITS troupe is the collective collaborator I need to run a very busy Theatre Program.

    Our meetings are primarily organizational.  The agenda is based on what we have going on and on the horizon.

    We require every Thespian to participate in every extracurricular show in some way.  It's in our Bylaws.  I depend on troupe members to invite fellow students and prospective Thespians to attend any Saturday work day.  They invite students to audition for extracurricular shows and urge them to take Theatre Arts courses.  The Thespians are the ones who know in their bones that a successful show is the responsibility of all of them, and sewing on a button, or coming in during a day their dual enrollment college course doesn't meet to focus lights, is just as important as being the lead.

    At our final meetings each year, we discuss potential shows for the next year, both curricular and extracurricular.  I go home each summer with a long list that I whittle down.  I often contact the troupe over the summer to help me make final selections.

    Eight to 10 of our Thespians direct 10-minute plays for our spring Quixotica, which pays for our hotel rooms at the NC Thespian Festival.  Most, if not all, of the plays are student-written, because (21st Century Skills!) our Thespians understand that we make a heck of a lot more money if we don't pay royalties and script fees.  They are very proud of paying for their hotel rooms, plus registration fees for students who can't afford them, from Quixotica.

    I am retiring in June, and our Thespian troupe is working with me to make sure the building is in shape to hand it over, and Thespians not graduating are learning equipment to teach the new teacher.

    C. J. Breland
    Asheville High School
    Asheville NC

  • 5.  RE: ITS Troupe Ideas

    Posted 04-11-2019 15:31
    Edited by Brian Benz 04-11-2019 15:32

    Hello, Elizabeth


    We're so glad to hear that you're interested in making ITS an integral part of your theatre program. You and your principal will find that having a Thespian troupe provides exceptional benefits to the students, troupe director, and the theatre program as a whole.


    Benefits for students:

    • International-level honor society recognition through Thespian induction and higher honor ranks
    • Thespian honor items that they'll cherish as lifelong mementos of their work and achievements
    • Job and college application enhancement as a member of an international-level honor society
    • Print and digital subscriptions to Dramatics magazine
    • Participation at your state conference and the International Thespian Festival
    • Workshop training and standards-based skill assessments from top teaching artists
    • Access to college reps. and auditions at the state and national levels
    • Scholarship, grant and award opportunities unique to ITS members


    Benefits for the troupe director:

    The single best thing you can give a theatre student is a well-trained and dedicated theatre teacher. As the troupe director, you'll be a professional member of the Educational Theatre Association and receive:

    • Bimonthly print and digital subscriptions to Teaching Theatre journal and Dramatics magazine
    • Members-only discounts on educational media and resources through the online EdTA Store
    • Special member rates for professional development events and programs, including the EdTA National Conference and full-day Professional Development Intensives.
    • And of course, you'll enjoy the support of this wonderful Community of geniuses!


    Benefits to your program and school:

    • Countless additional opportunities to highlight the successes of you and your students. Every ITS induction, honor, rank, award, scholarship, mainstage invitation, etc., represents a positive PR opportunity for the theatre department and the school as a whole. Positive PR tends to attract resources that every theatre program needs.
    • The progressive Thespian point and honor rank system will help motivate and inspire your students to stay with the program and try and do more to grow and reach that next level.
    • As students grow, the caliber of the program and its productions tends to grow along with them.
    • Having an official theatre arts honor society will elevate your students and program and affirm their well-earned place among all honor programs in your school community.


    I recommend you visit You'll find the basics of how everything works along with some great information, resources, and testimonial videos. Be sure to click on MAKE YOUR CASE for starting an ITS troupe. You'll find even more resources there, including an upbeat introductory video and a PowerPoint template that you can adapt for a presentation to students, parents, and administrators. There are also downloadable brochures and mission sheets that you can print and share.


    If there's anything else I can help you with, please feel free to contact me at We look forward to serving as your professional association and the honor society for your theatre arts students for many years to come!


    Brian Benz
    Membership Manager
    Educational Theatre Association