Samuel French, the world’s leading theatrical publishing and licensing company is launching a Natural Disaster Script Bank for high schools nationwide in collaboration with the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). The Bank, which began its collection in September 2017, will donate scripts to schools whose libraries are lost to natural disasters.
In early fall of last year, both Samuel French and EdTA received inquiries for script replacement from high schools whose libraries were destroyed by the likes of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria, the California wildfires, and more. In response, Samuel French pledged that for every script purchased at their conference booth in the 2017/18 season, they would donate a script to a high school affected by natural disasters.
A year later, 3,665 scripts are available for donation. However, EdTA and Samuel French recognize that the natural disasters of last summer are, unfortunately, an ever increasing occurrence. While many of the affected high schools have been rebuilt, future disasters can occur at any time. The National Disaster Script Bank was created to address this long-term need for script relief.
The first donations will be made to four high school Thespian troupes in Puerto Rico, who are still rebuilding from the effects of Hurricane Maria. A Thespian troupe is a group of students who have earned induction into the honor society for high school drama students, the International Thespian Society, (ITS) established in 1929. EdTA is the home of ITS.
“The idea was incubated as we heard story after story of schools whose theatre departments were wiped out from Hurricane Harvey. Unfortunately, we realized that this situation was bound to be repeated with other natural disasters,” commented Abbie Van Nostrand, Director of Corporate Communications at Samuel French. “As the largest theatrical publishing company, it became our goal to design a program in which we could assist in restocking an affected school’s theatre library. We are so appreciative of EdTA jumping in as a willing partner.”
EdTA’s Chief Relationship Officer, Hans Weichhart says, “When we looked at 2017 we recognized a long-term need and built infrastructure to better enable us to support schools and Thespian troupes efficiently and effectively in the wake of a natural disaster. Now, thanks to Samuel French, our resources include a source for scripts.”
Recommendations for schools in need can be made online any time on EdTA’s Disaster Relief Matchmaking page.