This year, your student has an exciting opportunity to be a member of a wonderful academic society. In 2007, I chartered Wester Middle School’s membership to The International Thespian Society and we are looking forward to our fantastic third year of involvement.
What is the International Thespian Society?
The International Thespian Society, a division of the Educational Theatre Association, is the honorary theatre organization for students in high school and middle school. The ITS offers everything from varied performance venues to college audition opportunities to formal awards and scholarships. Since 1929, more than two million students, schools, and educators have benefited from ITS membership.
Thespian student membership
How do students qualify for membership?
Students qualify by earning points for their work in the theatre arts. ITS provides a point system guide for your use. The points listed are the suggested maximum for excellent work.
For middle/junior high students, designated as those in grades 6–8, one point is equal to five hours of excellent work. In order to be eligible for membership in his or her school’s Junior Thespian troupe, a student must obtain a minimum of ten points. In addition, these points must be earned in a minimum of two productions and must be from two different production areas (i.e., acting and stage management).
All Junior Thespians receive:
- A membership certificate, sent to the troupe director to be filled out and presented to the student
- A personalized membership card sent to the troupe director for distribution to new inductees
- The option to apply five of their points toward high school Thespian membership
All Thespians (high school and Junior) receive:
- Eligibility to serve as a chapter student officer
- Eligibility to apply for Doug Finney Festival Grants, which include an all-expenses paid trip to the Thespian Festival
- Eligibility to submit their original plays to the Thespian Playworks program
- Eligibility to participate in individual events at chapter conferences and the National Individual Events Showcase at Festival
- Eligibility to receive Thespian honoraria in accordance with local troupe policy
What are Thespian credentials?
Thespian credentials are documents used to verify Thespian membership. There are two types of Thespian credentials.
When the home office successfully processes an induction roster, one blank certificate is sent to the troupe director for each new inductee. The troupe director fills out the membership certificate and presents it to the inductee, usually as part of an induction ceremony. If a certificate is lost, destroyed, or is unusable because of an error, the troupe director can order replacements from the home office for small fee. Paper stars and honor bars may be added to the membership certificate to symbolize points earned after initial induction.
The personalized membership card is considered proof that students have been inducted into the International Thespian Society. High school Thespian cards are mailed directly to the students’ addresses. Junior Thespian membership cards are mailed to their troupe sponsors for distribution. Membership cards are usually mailed within four to six weeks of processing. If the card is lost or destroyed, sponsors can order replacements from the home office for a small fee.
What use is a Thespian membership card? Well, that depends on where you live. Some chapters and member schools extend special deals and privileges (discounted tickets, free preview performances, etc.) to card-holding Thespians as a courtesy. Some local theatres and businesses may extend similar deals to cardholders based on previously arranged deals. Troupe directors should make themselves aware of any such deals and inform their students. If no such deals are available, why not make some? We encourage troupes to gather with others in the area and see what’s possible. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and many companies jump at the opportunity to build a steady clientele of easily identifiable Thespian honor students
What are the benefits of membership in the International Thespian Society?
Thespians receive the highest recognition due to those who have demonstrated commitment and excellence in their school’s theatre program—membership in the world’s largest theatre honor society. Thespians enjoy the sense of belonging and recognition inherent in being inducted into an honor society. Thespian membership encourages them to practice their craft and to grow as a person. The skills that they learn from a quality theatre arts education—creativity, self-confidence, leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills as well as specific theatre skills—will benefit them in their school days and beyond.
Thespians are eligible for scholarships on the chapter and international levels, have the opportunities to attend the International Festival and chapter conferences, and may hold leadership positions by serving on their chapter student boards or as one of our International Thespian Officers.
We will be meeting once a month. The students will be setting the dates. Plus we will decide on different functions to do as a group (play attendance, charity work, community project, etc.)
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me by e-mail or phone. I also welcome appointments to meet in person. You can contact me at 469-633-4895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s work together to make this opportunity fabulous for our theatre students!
Roxanne M. Penz