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.
EdTA released its second report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Theatre Education, detailing the results of a survey taken by 1,000 member teachers. The survey found that the pandemic continued to have profound impacts on theatre instruction and productions, even as in-person activity resumed.
While 92% were able to mount an in-person show during the 2020-21 school year, 68% still staged a virtual production, and financial pressures remained: There was a significant decline in schools reporting box office revenue of $5,001 to more than $10,000; 34% of respondents said they earned that amount in 2019-20, but only 16% for 2020-21 — underscoring the continued importance of ETF’s Thespian Relief Fund.
EdTA’s website continued to provide useful advocacy resources under one online roof, including 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.
The annual DemocracyWorks student essay competition also highlighted the effects of the pandemic, as entrants answered the question: “How does theatre support your social and emotional well-being and foster a welcoming school environment?” Winner Savannah Brown described how theatre healed her and her castmates after months of isolation.
And schools across the country participated in the annual Theatre in Our Schools campaign throughout the month of March, advocating for theatre education using resources provided by EdTA and its TIOS partner, the American Alliance for Theatre in Education — including endorsements on the value of school theatre from celebrities and successful theatre professionals.
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