"Act well your part; there all the honor lies." - Alexander Pope; the Thespian motto

Message From Our Leadership

Excitement was high for EdTA, ITS, and ETF at the start of 2020: We were preparing to move our signature International Thespian Festival to Indiana University (its original location) to accommodate more students. ITS was seeing record numbers of students inducted as Thespians and Junior Thespians.

JumpStart Theatre was expanding to new cities. ETF was preparing to pilot our new Pathway program promoting racial equity through school theatre.

Then COVID hit. Schools shut down. Events and in-person productions had to be canceled. The connections so vital to theatre were severed as the world came to a screeching halt.

True to our core values, this organization worked together not only to survive, but to innovate and strive for excellence through all the unforeseen challenges.

As you’ll see in our 2020 highlights:

  • When teachers needed help navigating remote and hybrid teaching, we delivered tools to help them.
  • When students earned recognition, we honored them.
  • When theatre couldn’t happen in person, our Thespian troupes and JumpStart Theatre schools got creative with virtual productions.
  • When schools faced revenue losses from canceled shows, we developed a grant program to keep them creating.
  • When our signature events seemed impossible, we developed a groundbreaking virtual student theatre festival and a free virtual teacher conference.
  • When our teachers needed the advocacy tools to safely continue their programs, we created them.

AT EdTA, ITS, and ETF, we are incredibly proud of achieving all these milestones during an incredibly tough year for a theatre education organization. But we are even more proud of our students, teachers, volunteers, and donors: It’s your dedication and support that made all these accomplishments possible.

While many things about the future remain uncertain, one outcome is for sure: School theatre programs will continue to thrive thanks to your creativity, resilience, innovation, and passion for our mission. Thank you!

Julie Cohen Theobald headshot
Julie Cohen Thoebald's Signature

Julie Cohen Theobald
Executive Director, EdTA
President, ETF

Gai Laing Jones Headshot

Gai Laing Jones
President,
EdTA board of directors

Matt Conover Headshot
Matt Conover Signature

Matt Conover
Chair,
ETF board of trustees

Isabelle Snyder, ITO Chair

Isabelle Snyder
Chair, International
Thespian Officers