Thespians Society: Shaping Lives Through Theatre
The International Thespians Society (Thespians) was founded in 1929 as a division of the Educational Theatre Association, and is the honor society for both middle school and high school students. “To obtain membership in the society, and become ‘thespians’ the performance of meritorious work in theatre arts is required. Since its inception, over 2 million students, schools and educators have become members in The International Thespian Society,” states CCA drama teacher, Lisa Flay.
Any student can become a Thespian an audition to perform in front of judges in Districts. The first “step” is joining CCA’s drama club either Tuesdays in the Black Box during lunch for middle school students, or Wednesday after school also in the Black Box from 3:15 – 4:30pm. Here students are made aware of audition times for school productions and district events. There are two district events that thespians will participate in while at “Districts”: There is the “Individual Event Festival” where students perform a variety of events (performance and technical), and the “One Act Festival” where students perform a one act play. Both events are evaluated by judges on a score ranging from poor, fair, good, excellent, and superior. If a senior high student ranks a “Superior,” they are now eligible to participate in the Florida State Thespian Festival held in Tampa, Florida.
When students participate in these events and in school productions they earn “Thespian Points,” which for high school students, each point is the equivalent of ten hours of work, while for middle school is five hours. After successfully earning ten points, the student is inducted into the International Thespians Society.
Students may audition in up to three of these categories: Solo Musical Theatre, Duet Musical Theatre, Small Group Musical Theatre, Large Group Musical Theatre, Monologue, Duet Acting, Ensemble Acting, Pantomime, Playwriting, Student Directed Scene, Costume Design, Costume Construction, Scene Design, Publicity Direction, and for the One Act Play. Audition months for both district events are in the months of October and November, though the exact dates change each year. This is why students interested in getting involved must be actively going to Drama Club meetings and listening attentively for information.
“Each category has a critique sheet with criteria for the judges to assess,” says Mrs. Flay. “For example, solo musical judges critique character development, delivery, emotional commitment, pitch, intonation, staging and technique.”
Joining Thespians is also a great benefit for a student’s college resume. According to Mrs. Flay, the International Thespian Society is widely known across the nation as a highly respected organization for “producing quality theatre students,” and does only great things for students wishing to pursue any career in the Arts. “At the Florida State Thespian Festival, juniors may audition for colleges and seniors may audition for scholarships. Many CCA students have done well at these auditions, been accepted to colleges, and received scholarship money to attend!”
Even students not pursuing careers in the fine arts can benefit from Thespians by learning lessons that will stick throughout life, such as communication with their peers, cooperation, as well as commitment to any goal one puts their mind to attain.
CCA’s Thespian Troupe verse is Micah 6:8—“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Through this, Thespians of CCA attempt to, “act justly in every performance, to love mercy by showing compassion to those around us and to walk humbly by realizing it is God at work within us when we perform,” as Mrs. Flay says. In doing this, God receives all the glory, honor, and praise. By following their example, all of us can, again in the words Mrs. Flay so eloquently put, “earn the respect of those around us by the quality of our work, and that respect will give us a voice—a voice that can share the love of Christ.”