School Theatre Advocacy

The Educational Theatre Association is the voice of theatre education.

From the local to the federal level, EdTA engages in ongoing work to affirm the professionalism of theatre educators and the value of arts education. We show up on behalf of students and teachers in national arts education working groups, legislative offices, policy events, advocacy campaigns, and more. And we provide a wealth of resources for members to advocate for our mission – and their own theatre programs.

Did You Know?

95% of school administrators believe that theatre experiences improve students’ overall academic skills. 2012 EdTA-Utah State University Survey of Theatre Education Programs in U.S. High Schools
As of 2020, The last comprehensive national arts education report by the U.S. Department of Education is over 10 years old. Americans for the Arts
Audience-based participation in the arts and personal participation in creating art are both linked to higher levels of civic engagement and social tolerance. Journal of Civil Society, Leroux and Bernadska, 2019
Arts education helps to increase students’ ability to manage behavior, make decisions, and cultivate a positive concept of the self. William Penn Foundation, Holochwost, Palmer Wolf, Fisher, & O’Grady, 2016
44 states require districts or schools to offer arts instruction at the elementary, middle, and high school level, but only 32 states define the arts in statute or code as a core or academic subject. National Center for Education Statistics, 2020
At-risk middle school students engaged in an after-school musical theatre program demonstrate improved confidence, creativity, resiliency, responsibility, collaboration, and sense of community. Capturing Student and Teacher Creative Growth through the After-School JumpStart Theatre Program, Year Two Report, 2017
High school students who earn multiple arts credits are five times more likely to graduate than students with low involvement in the arts. National Endowment for the Arts: The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth, 2012
Students attending live performances of theater (i.e., field trips and school performances) demonstrated higher levels of social emotional skills, and stronger command of the plot and vocabulary of the play they attended, versus viewing movie adaptations of the same plays. Educational Researcher, 2018
“An arts education has been shown to raise students’ ability to critique themselves, their willingness to experiment, their ability to reflect, and also to learn from mistakes.” Arts Education Policy Review; Robinson, 2013

COVID Resource Center

The pandemic has hit school theatre hard: Canceled productions, school closings, teacher burnout, budget cuts, and more put programs at risk. Yet theatre education’s benefits can serve as an antidote to negative effects on student learning and social emotional wellbeing. Get equipped for rebuilding with these resources. 

Issues and Positions

As the leading advocate for school theatre, EdTA supports its members – and the field – by galvanizing support around key issues affecting theatre education. Get familiar with those core topics and our stance on them.

Theatre education facts and data at your fingertips!

Explore our curated library of studies and papers illustrating the value of arts education.

Get involved!

EdTA and its members advocate for school theatre at all levels: federal, state, and local. Discover tips and tactics to speak up for your theatre program.

State Advocacy Success Story

The Advocacy Leadership Network is EdTA’s volunteer-led source for updates and support in your state or region.

Meet the chapter representatives from across the country!

News and Guides for Advocates

Teaching Theatre 2012
advocacy

Landscape Survey

This series of short articles supplements the Fall 2012 Teaching Theatre (volume 24, number one) report…

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Our Affiliations and Partners

Advocacy Help

Have an advocacy need or a question about these tools? Wondering about policy, legislation, or issues in your region, state, or district? Contact us, and we’ll connect you to an advocate.

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ITF 2019 Performance on stage, all actors' arms outstretched