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New troupe directors

Welcome New Director!
Thank you for serving as the official director of your International Thespian Society troupe. Whether you have been a director in the past, are a first-time director, or are new to the teaching profession, we know you will find ITS to be a valuable resource for your school’s drama department. We understand that taking on the responsibilities of a new or existing ITS troupe can seem a bit daunting at first, but you should have your troupe running smoothly in a very short time. To that end, we would like to share some suggestions and point you toward some resources that will make the school year as smooth as possible for you and your troupe.

Your role as troupe director
Your school is a member of the International Thespian Society (ITS), a division of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). As the director of a Thespian or Junior Thespian troupe, you are the single, official representative of your school to our organization, and vice versa. As such you are a full, professional member of EdTA. Your benefits include subscriptions to Dramatics magazine and our quarterly journal for theatre arts educators, Teaching Theatre, as well as member rates for our events and educational programs. These benefits will continue as long as your troupe remains active and you remain the official troupe director. All correspondence from EdTA to your troupe will be sent to your attention only. This includes your director benefits as well as all invoices and statements. You must authorize all orders, induction materials, and membership queries we receive from your troupe.

Remember that we are here for you! If you have questions, please feel free to contact our service center at 513.421.3900 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time or by email.

  1. Take advantage of these vital troupe management resources:
    - The troupe handbook pages are the most complete resources for managing ITS troupes:
    schooltheatre.org/thespiantroupehandbook
    schooltheatre.org/juniorthespiantroupehandbook

    - Your school’s troupe homepage is an essential tool that you can use by logging in to schooltheatre.org using your troupe director log-in codes, then clicking on the Troupe Business link when it appears at the top right of the page. Your troupe homepage gives you access to online resources and services that include: inducting new student members, viewing the troupe roster, ordering troupe director only items from the EdTA store, editing troupe and student profiles, printing or paying troupe invoices, and much more.

    - The Manage a Troupe page will help you link to the troupe management resources that don’t require log-in access, including the handbooks, point systems, and several online forms.

    - The ITS documents library includes downloadable PDF forms, resources, and templates to help you manage your troupe, including point sheets for recording the points of individual students and a troupe constitution template.

  2. Two vital but often overlooked director responsibilities are:
    a. Keep and maintain troupe records, including copies of all orders, rosters, and correspondences
    you send to us.

    b. Forward copies of all invoices and statements you receive to whomever is responsible for
    processing payments for your troupe. This is usually someone in the business office.

  3. Familiarize yourself with your school’s payment procedures.
    Meet with your business manager or accountant early in the school year. Gather as much information as possible and nurture a good working relationship with your office staff. School purchasing procedures vary greatly. Some require that all payments be made through official school purchase order documents, which must be requested and authorized weeks in advance of the purchase. Some school systems issue each department its own credit card. Some schools will issue checks as requested, while others expect teachers or booster groups to pay for everything and reimburse on a case-by-case basis. Knowing your school’s purchasing procedures and payment schedule in advance and coordinating them with EdTA’s procedures, deadlines, and turnaround times will make it easier for you to pay your annual troupe dues and other bills on time and to induct students and receive merchandise in time for ceremonies and awards banquets.

  4. Check the mail location for the previous director.
    Make sure all ITS/EdTA mail is being forwarded to your attention. This will ensure that you are aware of any invoices or updates sent to the troupe in the previous director’s absence.

  5. Check the status of your troupe’s account with EdTA.
    Contact the EdTA National Office at 513.421.3900 and speak to one of our service center specialists. They will be happy to provide you with the information you need. This will help to head off any unexpected expenses left by previous directors that may affect the current school year’s budget.

  6. Confirm who is and is not an official member of your troupe.
    If you have your troupe director log-in ID and password, you can log in to our website, schooltheatre.org, and review students inducted from 1999 to present from your troupe homepage. If you would like to review members inducted prior to 1999, “you can log in to the EdTA Store and order “troupe history research.” This will provide you with copies of all rosters sent to us in a given span of time. Ordering records prior to 1999 could help you with outreach or fundraising efforts to your ITS Alumni. If you don’t have a working troupe director log-in id and password, contact our membership team.

  7. Meet with troupe officers, former directors, or directors of other troupes.
    We allow directors a great deal of flexibility in adapting our guidelines to the specific needs of their schools, but any adaptations of or changes to the suggested ITS guidelines should be documented in a troupe constitution. These experienced individuals can provide you with valuable information on specific practices and traditions that will help you maintain continuity or minimize “culture-shock” if you decide changes must be made. As an added tool for networking with other directors, we have created an online member directory to allow you to contact and correspond with other directors. You can access this valuable resource through your homepage once you’ve received your official director log-in ID and password.

  8. Verify with each new inductee the correct spelling of his or her name as well as the current home address and email address for high school Thespians prior to filling out the roster form.
    When inducting students, it’s generally not safe to assume that the addresses you have in existing school, department, or troupe records are correct. This will ensure that student benefits are processed quickly and correctly. Induction invitations available through the National Office are great tools for collecting this data. Downloadable induction invitation sheets are also available here.

  9. Please read instructions and every form you submit, carefully.
    Our paper and online forms and catalogs include many instructions that help us to process your requests properly.These instructions are updated frequently along with fees and deadline information. Make sure the dates, fees, and deadlines are correct for the current school year and be sure to follow all instructions. This will help you avoid long delays or serious errors in processing. Please remember to keep a copy of forms and email confirmations for your own records!

  10. If your troupe plans to be active in your state chapter, you can touch base with your state chapter director by email using your state link at schooltheatre.org/statechapters.
    Most states and provinces have their own chapter of the Educational Theatre Association. Each chapter director has access to updated troupe information. Please remember to include your name, email address, troupe number, school name, city, and state. Inform your chapter director that you will be the new director of your troupe and express your interest in receiving updates on chapter events and activities.

  11. Send induction materials and merchandise orders as early in the school year as possible.
    The spring is a logical season for many schools to induct students and order merchandise for ceremonies and award banquets. As a result, we experience a rush season in April, May, and June. Order and roster processing during this period requires additional turnaround time, and backorders for popular catalog items are possible.
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