What is ITS?
The International Thespian Society (ITS), founded in 1929, is an honorary organization for high school and middle school theatre students located at more than 4,900 affiliated secondary schools across America and abroad. The mission of ITS is to honor student achievement in the theatre arts. High school inductees are known as Thespians and junior high/middle school inductees are known as Junior Thespians. ITS is a division of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA).
What is the Educational Theatre Association?
The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) is a national nonprofit organization with more than 135,000 student and professional members. EdTA’s mission is shaping lives through theatre education by: honoring student achievement in theatre and enriching their theatre education experience; supporting teachers by providing professional development, networking opportunities, resources, and recognition; and influencing public opinion that theatre education is essential and builds life skills. EdTA operates the International Thespian Society (ITS), an honorary organization that has inducted more than 2.3 million theatre students since its founding in 1929. EdTA also publishes Dramatics, a bimonthly magazine for high school theatre students, and Teaching Theatre, a bimonthly journal for theatre education professionals.
How Do I Join ITS?
Induction criteria (from ITS website)
Grade at time of induction. Only students in grades 9 through 12 (or the international equivalent) may be inducted into the high school Thespian troupe. Students in grades six through eight must be inducted into a Junior Thespian troupe. We recommend that programs that serve students in both grade ranges charter a high school troupe and a Junior Thespian troupe.
School enrollment. If a student receives primary academic coursework from a school with an active troupe, he or she may only be inducted into and receive benefits through that troupe. Troupes may induct students who attend other schools only when those schools do not have their own active troupes. See Appendix 3: Guidelines for determining student troupe affiliation below.
Thespian points. The high school Thespian point system provides the recommended number of points awarded for a specific assignment. Troupe directors may use their discretion in awarding points according to the student’s quality of work and cooperation. Quality may include the caliber of the work done and the educational value of the experience. The troupe director makes the final decision regarding the awarding of Thespian points.
Troupes may adopt changes to the point system to meet the unique needs of their theatre programs and students. Approved changes must be documented in the troupe constitution and shared with all theatre students.
Thespian point system summary.
- Inducted Junior Thespians automatically begin their high school careers with half of the points needed for high school Thespian induction.
- One point represents approximately 10 hours of excellent work. Use this formula in awarding points for items not specifically listed in the point system.
- To become a Thespian, a student must earn 10 points, the equivalent of 100 hours of work. Five of those points should be acquired at the school where he or she is to be inducted.
- Induction points should be earned through participation in at least two full-length productions, or one full-length and two one-acts, or four one-acts.
- Induction points should be earned in at least two of the listed categories, for example, acting and production.
- At the troupe director’s discretion, students may earn up to five points toward induction through participation in community, children’s, middle school, or professional theatre.
- Thespian membership is offered to all students who qualify. No student can be elected into the troupe, and no student can be denied membership if he or she has fulfilled all membership requirements.
Additional criteria.The school or troupe director may adopt additional requirements for induction into ITS. Attendance, academic performance, behavioral expectations, and community service projects are examples of criteria that may be considered when determining induction eligibility. Any changes must be documented in the troupe constitution. Criteria may not include recommendation or approval by other students.
Anti-hazing policy. As stated in the EdTA Membership Policy and Hazing Policy at schooltheatre.org/codesandpolicies: Students who have met all requirements must be issued invitations to be inducted into ITS. Under no circumstances are students elected to become ITS inductees. Induction is awarded in recognition of meritorious work in the theatre arts and achievement of academic requirements. In accordance with the Anti-Hazing Policy, as approved by the Board of Directors…hazing is forbidden.
Track Your Points!!!
Use the Point Record Sheet (pdf) available on the ITS Forms & Information page to track your points for induction and for your progress toward ITS Honors!