The International Thespian Society, the honorary organization for high school and middle school theatre students, has topped $1 million in money raised for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, it was announced last week at the group’s annual Thespian Festival.
Student thespians across the country support Broadway Cares by hosting audience appeals, bucket brigades, silent auctions, and special performances in their schools. Increasingly, student officers incorporate Broadway Cares fundraising at their state festivals, where thousands of Thespians contribute each year.
Joe Norton, BC/EFA’s Director of Education and Outreach, attended the Thespian Festival and shared the good news last week with nearly 3,000 students, teachers and administrators. Through July 2, 2012, Thespians have raised $1,012,807 for Broadway Cares. Watch Norton’s announcement to the thespians at broadwaycares.org/thespians.
“Thespians know how to affect change by working together and celebrating their love of theatre,” Norton said. “And, in the process, they become leaders who raise awareness about HIV/AIDS where they live, while making a difference for so many people in need in their local communities and around the country.”
The International Thespian Society, which is the student faction of the Educational Theatre Association, is consistently Broadway Cares’ strongest collective supporter in schools, raising more money than any other school organization.
“These talented students combine their creativity and boundless energy with a genuine sense of caring for one another,” said Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola. “They know that theatre is about so much more than just performing. It’s about coming together as a community and this next generation of inspirational actors are leading by example, not only for their classmates but for all of us.”
The partnership between the International Thespian Society and Broadway Cares grew from a single school’s community service project in 1999. The enthusiasm that started in Troupe 5464 at North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA, spread to other schools and by the end of the first year, troupes in nine states raised more than $10,000. Now, thespians from almost every state fundraise for Broadway Cares.
Speaking at the festival, Norton thanked the teachers for inspiring their students to get involved. “You are my true heroes,” he said before encouraging the young actors to stay dedicated to their efforts.
“You are making such an incredible difference in the world,” Norton said. “You’re changing the lives of so many people.”
About Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
About the International Thespian Society
The International Thespian Society is an honorary organization for high school and middle school theatre students located at more than 3,900 affiliated secondary schools across America, Canada 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.
About the Educational Theatre Association
The Educational Theatre Association is a professional organization with approximately 90,000 members nationwide. EdTA’s mission is shaping lives through theatre education: 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 million theatre students since its founding in 1929. EdTA also publishes Dramatics, a monthly magazine for high school theatre students, and Teaching Theatre, a quarterly journal for theatre education professionals.
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