There’s no playbook for how to teach theatre during a pandemic — so as the leading professional association for theatre teachers and the voice of theatre education at the state and national level, EdTA responded with research and tools to help the field advocate for the value of school theatre.
As districts grappled with decisions about returning to school for the 2020-21 school year in person, virtually, or hybrid, EdTA released its Recommendations for Reopening School Theatre Programs. Developed from careful analysis of multiple studies and expert resources, the guide equipped teachers with recommendations on how they could minimize risks and ensure students’ safety, while simultaneously providing them with quality theatre experiences. It also included a call to districts to retain their trained and certified theatre educators in a time when the social and emotional health and safety of students was so vital.
In September, EdTA released a report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Theatre Education, detailing the results of a survey taken by 2,400 teachers. The survey found that 91% of schools were forced to cancel productions in spring 2020 — underscoring the importance of ETF’s Thespian Relief Fund — and that 75% were starting the school year virtually or hybrid, making the resources on Theatre Educator Pro even more valuable. Numerous media outlets cited the survey in stories about the pandemic’s effects on school theatre.
Understanding theatre teachers’ need to fight for their programs’ survival, EdTA built a new Rapid Response Advocacy Center, putting its most useful advocacy resources under one online roof. In addition to the resources above, the center includes numerous fact sheets and templates, the Arts Education Is Essential statement signed by more than 70 national organizations, and a path to connect with the trained advocates of the Advocacy Leadership Network.