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A black female student with short, black hair smiles while holding a book over her head.
ConcordTheatricals Lockup Aubergine 1

DemocracyWorks is sponsored by Concord Theatricals.

Student Essay Competition

Thespians passionate about making a difference will find their chance to shine in DemocracyWorks, EdTA’s annual essay competition designed to grow student advocacy for theatre education.

DemocracyWorks was created to offer youth a voice to advocate for theatre education. Each year, students submit inspiring essays on a timely prompt surrounding the value of arts education. Three finalists receive prizes and recognition:

  • Winner: $250, publication on Dramatics.org
  • First Runner-Up: $150, publication on Dramatics.org
  • Second Runner-Up: $100, publication on Dramatics.org

The DemocracyWorks essay contest is an opportunity for you to tell your theatre story and to make the case for the arts as a key component of our democratic system of government.

For Teachers and Troupe Directors

Democracyworks makes an excellent curriculum item!
See the Click to Teach Lesson: Become a Theatre Advocate

Recent Winners


lea milinini 1

Lea Milanini

Troupe 2296
Wiley E. Groves High School
Beverly Hills, MI

“How have your theatre education experiences helped prepare you to actively participate in our democracy?”

Watch Lea read the essay below:


Spencer Wareing

Spencer Waring

Troupe 3584
Saguaro High School
Scottsdale, AZ

“How has theatre helped you build resiliency in your personal life and academic studies?”

Watch Spencer read the essay below:


Savannah Brown, 2021 Democracyworks Winner

Savannah Brown

Troupe 6303
Timber Creek High School,
Orlando, FL

“How does theatre support your social and emotional well-being and foster a welcoming school environment?”



Lena Dougherty

Troupe 8938
Wildwood Catholic High School
North Wildwood, NJ

“How does theatre help bring diverse communitites together?”

The Power of Student Voice

See 2019 DemocracyWorks winner Brannon Evans of Troupe 5483 at Millard West High School in Omaha, Neb., read her winning essay on To Kill a Mockingbird. Evans also won a $10,000 scholarship from the Educational Theatre Foundation funded by the Broadway show’s production team, awarded at a special event at the Library of Congress in honor of Theatre in Our Schools month (pictured above).

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