In a school year filled with crisis, challenges, and change, EdTA helped school theatre programs find their way to the other side. As pandemic shutdowns escalated — including school closures, canceled productions, and missed graduations — the show went on for EdTA’s signature student event, the International Thespian Festival (ITF).
ITF is the nation’s premier teen theatre festival, attracting thousands of Thespians and their teachers annually. In just three months, EdTA transformed this live-theatre showcase into the first-ever virtual International Thespian Festival, delivering recorded performances, 50-plus workshops, a Main Stage Marathon, networking sessions, a unified college audition, special guest appearances by 25 celebrities, and the inaugural International Thespian Excellence Awards. With more than 2,000 attendees, Virtual ITF was the first large-scale digital theatre festival of its kind.
As one attendee put it, “Virtual ITF was so impressive! The invited presenters and celebrities were fabulous. I laughed, I cried, and I was moved emotionally in every session. ITF provided much-needed joy in the midst of challenging times.”
For theatre teachers, who had to adapt to remote teaching overnight, EdTA quickly curated resources and developed timely webinars for its professional learning portal Theatre Educator Pro, accessible to all adult members. Traffic spiked as educators took advantage of more than 30 Click to Teach interactive lessons and programs such as Creating Live Zoom Theatre.
As teachers entered a school year dominated by remote and hybrid learning, EdTA provided support through its virtual National Conference in September, accessible for free to all adult members. A record 900 teachers signed up for keynotes, workshops, and small-group sessions on how to “Future-Proof Your Theatre Program.”
Attendees walked away feeling empowered and energized. “The speakers and presenters EdTA brought to this year’s national conference made me proud to be a theatre teacher,” noted one attendee. “They were brilliant, impressive, and inspiring. EdTA clearly knows the pulse of education in this country.”