Help Your Students Earn Thespian Points with This Quick-Start Guide
During the school year, your to-do list is long (and getting longer daily!), which can make coordinating opportunities for your Thespians to earn points toward a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of options to make things easier.
Before we give you some options, here’s our huge thank you! Thank you for being theatre educators, serving as school administrators, directing Thespian troupes, and all your efforts in shaping students’ lives through theatre education.
We know you want to see your students grow this year. So help them create a clear plan now and set achievable goals to earn Thespian points toward their membership in the International Thespian Society (ITS) and #ThespianForever status.
Encourage a Variety of Activities
The Thespian Troupe Handbook is dense with information, so here’s a shortcut to ideas for students to earn points right now.
Remember that high school students must earn 10 points to qualify for induction, with each point representing 10 hours of quality classroom work or equal efforts. Students can earn points in three areas, so encourage them to choose activities from each:
- In school (think: in the building and on the grounds on school days)
- In the district and community (think: off the school property or at different school buildings in your school system)
- At the policy-making level (think: school board and elected officials)
Completing 100 hours of theatrical work to earn enough points to be inducted is no small feat. Students who earn the honor join well-known performers (and non-performers) on screen and on stage. You could be helping the next Notable Thespian join the ranks!
5 Easy Ways to Start Earning Thespian Points
- Let students write and perform, in character, invitations to attend your troupe’s first show. Institute “Theatre Thursdays,” and have students create announcements: via intercom or TV, a 30-second social media post, #TheatreThursdays flyers, etc. The work they’re doing is solid theatre marketing work that will give your program a boost, too. It’s a win/win.
- Organize a reverse clothing drive that asks the community to donate gently used items to the costume and prop room. Students can create a want list of needed items (be sure to check the scripts for the shows you’re producing this year). On the day of the drive, they should help determine what can be accepted, repaired, and/or mended, or collected and set aside to donate to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Future Thespians can earn points by organizing and working the event, and for any hours they spend repairing, cataloging, and/or organizing the new costumes and props.
- Institute group watch parties of recorded performances. (Students could also do this independently, but isn’t theatre more fun with a friend?) Then have students dive deeper into their understanding. Whether it’s a review of the show, a report n the haptoral significant of the production, or an outline of unique elements or ways the troupe could replicate these elements for one of your shows this year (at least two to four shows to receive 1 point).
- For the playwrights in the troupe, get them started on an entry for a one-act playwriting competition or Thespy Playwriting entry (4 points). Check deadlines ASAP! Here are two good sites: NYCPlaywrights, American Association of Community Theatre.
- Invite students to attend school board meetings and share testimonials about how their theatre education (#TheatreInOurSchools) has improved their school experience and taught them valuable life skills. The link above contains additional ideas, toolkits, and more to help students advocate effectively.
More Help is On the Way
As a troupe director, you’ve probably wished for an assistant at least once. In the spirit of #bettertogether, you can appoint an Associate Troupe Director (ATD) to share the journey this theatre season – and help with coordinating points opportunities, too. An ATD can be another teacher or a parent/adult with the bandwidth to jump in and help. Appointing an ATD is a win/win.
Here are just some tasks your ATD could do:
- Oversee earning and awarding Thespian induction points.
- Sign forms and applications.
- Induct Thespians into ITS.
- Order Thespian honors items.
- Access troupe account information.
- Register students for events.
Check the EdTA forum for more ideas
Check out EdTA’s Theatre Education Community periodically to connect with like-minded theatre educators and professionals. It’s a great place to share a question about a production or a process you’re tackling and get ideas on how to involve students so they can work toward their Thespian induction goals.
We hope this school year brings you a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and especially joy as you help your students develop skills to take them confidently forward on their journey.