The New York City-based theatrical organization iTheatrics has received the Standing Ovation Award from the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). The award was developed to recognize a corporation or organization that makes significant contributions to theatre education on the national level through philanthropic efforts or its programs and activities.
EdTA’s mission is shaping lives through theatre education: honoring student achievement in theatre and enriching their theatre education experience; supporting teachers; 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 students since its founding in 1929.
Founded in 2006 by educator and author Timothy Allen McDonald, iTheatrics claims the title of world’s leading authority on musical theatre for young people. iTheatrics currently works with the principal musical theatre licensing agencies such as Musical Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, Samuel French, R & H Theatricals and Tams-Witmark Music Library to develop musicals that are adapted for performance by elementary, middle and high school students.
iTheatrics has also partnered with the President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities, New York City’s Department of Education, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, McGraw-Hill Education and NBC Universal, to develop and implement dynamic programs to build cost-effective and sustainable musical theatre programs in under-served schools around the country. iTheatrics’ annual Junior Theatre Festival is the world’s largest festival exclusively dedicated to celebrating young people and student-driven musical theatre.
In presenting the award EdTA executive director, Julie Cohen Theobald cited iTheatrics’s involvement with EdTA and the field of school theatre. “Together,” she said, “we developed and launched the JumpStart Theatre pilot program to build sustainable musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools where there were none.” She added, “Over the past couple years, our relationship has developed into a valuable and trusted partnership. iTheatrics is well regarded by our membership as a company who supports and gives back to the field of theatre education.”
Timothy Allen McDonald accepted the award at this summer’s International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska and regarding the honor he said, “iTheatrics seeks partners who are forward thinking and passionate about building sustainable musical theatre programs in schools everywhere. We are thrilled to partner with EdTA, an organization that not only pioneered theatre education, but continues to be a leader in the field." The JumpStart program is now entering its second cycle and has attracted the support and encouragement of the larger Cincinnati community.
In 2017, iTheatrics and EdTA will partner in the launch of the Junior Theater Festival West in Sacramento, CA. JTF West will bring students, teachers, and Broadway professionals together to celebrate outstanding student theater productions and the transformative power of theatre, and will have a day devoted exclusively to Junior Thespian troupes and their activities. iTheatrics’ flagship Junior Theater Festival event is held annually in Atlanta in January with over 5,000 participants. Other notable contributions include iTheatrics’ role in adapting student versions of musicals and plays for young people to perform, making putting on a show more accessible for thousands of Thespian troupes and hundreds of thousands of students.
Playbill, Inc. is a proud supporter and sponsor of the Junior Theatre Festival, JTF West and the Educational Theatre Association. Playbill promotes performing arts education through its websites PlaybillEDU and PLAYBILLder.