The following describes the basic outlines and speeches for the installation of a newly chartered troupe and four different induction ceremonies. There are three versions of the Thespian induction ceremony that vary in complexity, length, and formality. The fourth ceremony is for Junior Thespians.
Ceremony for the installation of a newly chartered troupe
Brief membership induction ceremony
Standard membership induction ceremony
Formal membership induction ceremony
Membership induction ceremony for Junior Thespians
The troupe director may draw freely from the various versions to create a ceremony that is suitable to his or her school’s circumstances; however, the formal induction ceremony should be reserved for students of senior high school age.
Some thoughts from the authors: There is nothing sacred about these ceremony texts; they should be considered models that the troupe director can revise and adapt to suit his or her individual circumstances. An induction ceremony can be part of a general awards night, a short, informal celebration, or a formal event.
Suggestions for successful preparation and planning:
- Consider inviting the EdTA chapter director to attend your induction. (If you are planning a ceremony to mark the chartering of a new troupe, the chapter director should definitely be invited.)
- The principal, superintendent, school board members and like school officials may be invited to attend and even have a role in the ceremony. For a charter ceremony they should definitely be invited.
- Select and adapt a ceremony that fits the available stage, lighting, costuming, and time constraints.
- Cast the ceremony just as you would a play and schedule rehearsals.
- Notify in writing all students who have earned the honor of Thespian membership by issuing them invitations to the induction ceremony. Students in many formal induction ceremonies are each asked to do an individual performance (monologue, pantomime, dance, musical solo, reading of a piece of their own original script, or a brief presentation on a costume, set, lighting, or makeup design the student has created.) Schedule rehearsals so that these performances and the other activities surrounding these performances can work smoothly together.
- Follow the procedures for inducting new student members provided in the appropriate troupe handbook. Remember that the induction of students takes place when the students’ names, information, and membership fees are received by the EdTA National Office. Inductions should be submitted prior to the ceremony, which is the local celebration of induction.
- Submit membership forms two to three weeks in advance to ensure a timely delivery of materials. The EdTA National Office will provide a Thespian induction pin and a personalized membership card and certificate for each new member.
- In designing decorations for the ceremony, keep in mind that the Thespian colors are blue and gold. Traditional Thespian flowers are blue delphinium and yellow roses. Optional ITS table covers and banners are available for purchase through the online EdTA store.
- The use of candles is a traditional but optional part of more formal ITS induction ceremonies. For safety and reliability, electric candles are recommended. Open flames may be used at the discretion of the director, provided school rules and local fire codes permit them. If open flames are used, appropriate safety precautions must be taken.
- Prepare the record of accomplishments for each student’s dramatic activities; these will be read at the ceremony.
- Publicize the event to all interested parties—parents and relatives, school officials, your faculty colleagues, the general public, and technical and support personnel in the theatre.
- Prepare a pre-ceremony press release for the newspapers, radio, and television stations. Include a short history of the troupe and an announcement of the names of the inductees (with parents’ permission, if necessary). Also include an announcement of the time and place of the induction ceremony if it is open to the public.
- Prepare a post-ceremony press release complete with a high quality photo and quote from an administrator and/or distinguished guest for maximum public relations impact for your program and recognition for your inductees.
- As part of your ceremony, acknowledge student advancement through Honor Thespian, National Honor Thespian, and International Honor Thespian ranks as well as all three scholar distinctions.
The 1998 revision of the International Thespian Society charter and induction ceremony models was undertaken by a committee consisting of Judy Babcock, Rita Freeberg, and Steve Halper. Special thanks to Judy Babcock for her insights into middle school inductions and to Steve Halper for his valuable input, distribution, and field testing of the document. The committee appreciates the input of the staff of the Educational Theatre Association and the input of troupe directors from around the world.
Special thanks to those troupe directors who sent us their induction ceremony and videotapes of their ceremonies. These ceremonies contain material drawn from many sources, including the various previous versions of the ceremonies published by the International Thespian Society. Grateful acknowledgment is made in particular to Jean E. Donahey, Helen Smith, and Julian Meyers; Steve Halper and Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson; Bettijane Burger; and Pam Ware.