In addition to student-centered programming and curriculum resources, EdTA engages in special projects to advance the field of theatre education. The organization has been awarded multiple grants from state and national agencies to support this important work.
In 2022, the association focused on three key projects:
Behind the Scenes, funded by a $50,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant, piloted technical theatre curriculum for low-income middle school students in Baltimore. The program paired pre-service theatre and education students from Morgan State University, a historically black college (HBCU), with teaching artists of color to create and implement the curriculum, which was published on the EdTA Learning Center for use by member teachers. EdTA then scaled the model by launching a second project in a rural community.
EdTA partnered with the Cincinnati Black Theatre Artists Collective on Finding Voice, a project to create monologues specifically for use by students of color. Through grant funding from the Ohio Arts Council, EdTA commissioned artists from the Collective to produce 24 new monologues — a step to address the underrepresentation of creators of color within theatre education. The monologues were made available in the Learning Center, providing member teachers with a new resource for culturally inclusive teaching.
Most significant is a five-year project that kicked off in 2022: In partnership with the National Art Education Association, the National Association for Music Education, the National Dance Education Organization, and the New York City School District, EdTA was awarded a $8.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant for Connected Arts Network, or CAN — an initiative to promote equity, diversity, inclusion and social and emotional learning leadership through the formation of teacher learning communities nationally. The first cohort of 20 theatre teachers from across the country designed action research to look deeply at DEIA and SEL. In the second stage of the grant, each teacher will be charged with leading a professional learning community of their own.