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International Thespian Festival Is Moving to a New Location in 2020

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival
ITF Logo wEdta PMS

The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) and International Thespian Society (ITS) have experienced a strong growth trend in event participation over the past several years. More Thespians than ever are attending EdTA Thespian festivals–both in their home states and the International Thespian Festival (ITF).

In order to accommodate this growth and provide more opportunities for more students, EdTA has determined that ITF needs a venue with more robust theatre capacity, and will move ITF to Indiana University in Bloomington (IU) in 2020. In 2019, ITF will remain at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Nancy Brown, EdTA’s Director of Educational Programs, is excited that the move makes room for 2,000 more Thespians to experience “the one and only International Thespian Festival.” She adds, “Thespians will make great use of bigger mainstage theatres, additional smaller theatre spaces, and more smart classroom space for workshops.”

This is not the first time that EdTA has moved ITF to accommodate growth. And it will not be the first time ITF will be held at IU. The very first International Thespian Festival was held there in 1941, continuing through 1956. It was also at IU 1960-1964 and 1968-1970.

After holding the always-growing event at a couple of other venues, ITF was moved to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL) in 1995, when attendance was 2,133. Attendance has grown every year since and in 2014 a two-track schedule was adopted to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate. With attendance of 4,289 in 2017, more than double than when ITF moved there, there is no further room for expansion at UNL.

Brown says that over 25 years the UNL staff have become like family.  She adds, “They could write the book on excellent customer service.  They have always been very good to EdTA staff and to Thespians and were always supportive, flexible, and accommodating.  They will be dearly missed.”


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