Planning Guide


You’re registered for the International Thespian Festival … now what?
Produced by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), ITF is the place where you see, think, and do theatre nonstop for a week. But with so many activities and performances, it can be a little overwhelming. Use this guide to start planning your ITF experience.

Check in at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, located at 275 N. Jordan Ave., before heading to your residence halls. At check-in, you will receive your room assignments, badges, programs, MAC tickets (if you have not already printed them), and Thespy participation pins. All attendees also will receive a T-shirt and water bottle.

Your ID badge (delivered at check-in) is your access pass to all ITF activities. Badges must be visible — worn above the waist — at all times. If you lose your badge, you can obtain a duplicate from the ITF Information Desk for $5. The color of your ITF badge insert indicates your performance track (either blue or yellow). On the bottom right corner of your badge, you will find your dining hall assignment; on the bottom left corner, you will find your section/row/seat for the IU Auditorium performances.

Chapter Select Showcase
See some of the outstanding one-act productions from chapter festivals across the country. Performances take place in the Ruth N. Halls and Studio theatres in morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. See the list of shows on the website and check the EdTA Events app for scheduling information.

College Auditions
Every year, hundreds of Thespians get an early start on their college search by auditioning for more than 60 colleges and universities at ITF. Rising seniors present for all the participating colleges at the same time — a quick and easy way to get lots of exposure. If you’re signed up for auditions, you will receive a link to complete your application. Then, as ITF week approaches, you’ll receive instructions on how to sign up for your audition time slot.

Checkout is 6 to 10 a.m. on Sunday. No late checkout will be allowed.

IU campus police are on duty at all times. Nurses are available to respond to emergencies; contact information will be provided at ITF. If possible, students should report any illness or other emergency to their troupe director or chaperone.

Freestyle Theatre
Freestyle Theatre gives Thespian troupes the chance to experiment with one-act scripts or production cuttings from 10 to 30 minutes long. Performances take place in the intimate Studio Theatre. See the EdTA Events app for schedule information.

ITF Information Desk
Have an on-site customer service need or question for ITF staff? The ITF Information Desk is located in the lobby of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center (where you check in).

  • Monday: 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Tuesday through Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Late-Night Activities
After a day full of workshops and shows, ITF offers a variety of activities after dark. Thespians can participate in karaoke or learn the finer points of improv in special evening sessions taught by professional actors. Participate in Festival’s Got Talent, or take a break from performances with a game of billiards or bowling. More activities are in the works — use the EdTA Events app to browse the possibilities.

Location and Maps
ITF takes place on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. Most shows will be performed in the IU Auditorium, Musical Arts Center (MAC), and Ruth N. Halls Theatre. Workshops, Thespys, auditions, and other programs will happen in a variety of buildings — use the EdTA Events app to find locations. A map of the IU campus also will be provided in your ITF souvenir book and in the EdTA Events app. You can start familiarizing yourself with the campus now using IU’s interactive maps.

Main Stage Shows: IU Auditorium
The IU Auditorium hosts six shows, including the International Thespian Excellence Awards (Thespys™) Showcase. Each production is performed twice, once for the blue track and once for the yellow track. Every student, troupe director, and chaperone will have a seat reserved in the IU Auditorium for one of those performance times, depending on your track, and you will keep the same seat throughout the week. View Main Stage seating details.

Main Stage Shows: Musical Arts Center (MAC)

The MAC hosts six shows, each performed twice. All MAC performances are ticketed. Each troupe or group receives three tickets per attendee and can decide which shows and seats they want. (View Main Stage seating details.) It may be possible to see a MAC show without an advance ticket. See the theatre manager before each performance to find out if seats are available.

Your full registration fee includes all meals in the IU residence hall cafeterias beginning with Monday evening’s dinner and ending with Sunday’s breakfast. Students are assigned specific dining locations where they may eat. Dining hall assignment are printed on your badge.

Your meal card is on a key ring with your residence hall room key. If you lose the key ring, you may get a new meal card and key at your residence hall desk. The card entitles you to enter the dining line once — and only once — for each meal served. Adults have the option of eating in their assigned dining hall or in the adults-only cafeteria.


  • Tuesday through Saturday: 7 to 9:30 a.m.
  • Sunday: 6 to 9 a.m.


  • Tuesday through Saturday: Noon to 2:30 p.m.


  • Monday through Saturday: 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Mobile App
The EdTA Events app puts all the need-to-know information about ITF at your fingertips: schedules, workshop and performance descriptions, teaching artist bios, campus information, colleges, exhibitors, event updates, and more.

To get the app, go to your device’s app store and search for “EdTA Events.” Download the free app. On the home screen, you’ll see a choice for upcoming or past events. Select upcoming events, then choose International Thespian Festival 2020.

ITF information will be posted periodically leading up to the event, starting in late March. Check the app regularly to get updated information to plan your week.

Nurses will be available to treat sick or injured attendees. Their phone numbers will be available in the registration packet you receive on-site. Anyone needing emergency medical care should contact 911, or use a ride-hailing service for transportation to IU Health Bloomington Hospital.

Performance Etiquette
Be respectful to those onstage and those around you. Please, no talking, yelling, or taking photographs and video during the shows, and clap only when appropriate. Catcalling of any kind will not be tolerated.

Performance Schedule
ITF uses a two-track schedule. The dual schedule allows every ITF attendee to see main stage shows in both the IU Auditorium and the Musical Arts Center (MAC), increases the number of people who can participate, and gives ITF attendees a variety of programming options. The color of your ITF badge insert indicates what track you are on. If your badge insert is blue, you’ll see the main stage shows during the times for the blue track. If your badge is yellow, you’ll follow the yellow schedule for main stage shows. You are expected to adhere to your track’s assigned main stage schedule, though you may decide to attend a workshop or a one-act performance during your main stage slot. (Students, get your troupe director’s permission if you want to skip a show.)

The ITF schedule is packed with performances, workshops, auditions, staged readings, the Thespys, late-night activities, and more. Programming details will be released on the EdTA Events app as they are available. In the meantime, you can use the online daily schedule to start thinking about your activity plans — especially for your Monday arrival.

Scholarship Auditions
Thespians who are 2020 graduates can audition for more than $12,000 in scholarships awarded at ITF. If you’ve registered for scholarship auditions, you will receive a link to complete your application. Then, as ITF week approaches, you’ll receive instructions on how to sign up for your audition time slot.

Tech Challenge
This competition allows Thespians to demonstrate their accuracy, speed, and efficiency — as well as creativity, ingenuity, and teamwork — in executing technical theatre skills. If you’ve registered a team, check the EdTA Events app for the location before ITF.

Thespian Spirit Store
You can purchase badge ribbons, apparel, buttons, stickers, and other souvenirs of your experience at the Thespian Spirit Store during the following hours throughout the week.

  • Monday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Tuesday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thespy Awards
Many Thespians come to ITF to participate in the International Thespian Excellence Awards (Thespys) alongside the best student performers, designers, and technicians in the country. All Thespy participants receive a commemorative pin at check-in. Award winners — students who get the top score in their category — receive a medal and will be recognized in the closing Thespys Showcase on Saturday evening.

Participants must be registered by May 1. The Thespys schedule will be released approximately two weeks prior to ITF.

ITF features more than 200 workshops in 700-plus sessions scheduled throughout the week. Each workshop is repeated multiple times to ensure you won’t miss your top choices. Topics include performance, sets, makeup, costuming, directing, stage management, dance, playwriting, puppetry, stage combat, and more. Workshop descriptions and a session schedule will be available in the EdTA Events app.

Teachers also can sign up for hands-on Professional Development Intensives for an additional fee. See topics on the website or in the app.