The virtual edition of the one-and-only International Thespian Festival (ITF), taking place June 22-26, is addressing current diversity and inclusion topics in its comprehensive program of workshops and general sessions. The 60 hours of programming over five days also features performances of the best high school theatre of the year from across the country, plus more than 50 workshops, 25 celebrity guests, and a college fair with 45 schools.
Black artists will headline the opening ceremonies. Michael James Scott will host the festival kickoff event, with Kenny Leon addressing racial equity in an inspiring keynote speech. Alton Fitzgerald White will lead off the student leadership program. In addition, Brittney Mack of the Broadway musical SIX will lead a student Q&A, and Dr. Jamie Riley, Director for Racial Equity with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), will moderate a panel discussion about racial equity in the entertainment industry with:
- Cody Renard Richard, actively engaged Thespian alum who was recently production stage manager for Freestyle Love Supreme.
- Danielle Mone Truitt, accomplished film actress, most recently seen in the role of Charlie Minnick on Fox’s Deputy
- Austin Scott, recently seen as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton on Broadway before joining the original Broadway cast of Girl from the North Country as Joe Scott.
Other diversity-focused programming includes:
- Nine workshops taught by artists of color and/or on diversity-equity-inclusion topics
- LGBTQ panel for theatre students
- Q&A and video performance with Ryan J. Haddad, an actor, playwright, and autobiographical performer with cerebral palsy
- Dolly Parton addresses female empowerment along with a panel discussion with female student cast members of 9 to 5
Thanks to the virtual format this programming, and all the workshops, are more accessible than ever. An all-access pass enables 90 days of access to the celebrities, shows, and workshops. Virtual ITF is open to all theatre lovers including students, their families and friends, as well as to artists and other industry leaders. Register for Virtual ITF here. Students in financial need may apply for a grant to attend Virtual ITF.