Award-winning stage and screen actor Kevin Kline has been named the spokesperson for this year’s Theatre in Our Schools Month, a grassroots campaign launching in March to raise awareness of the positive impact theatre programs have on schools and the communities they serve.
Known for his roles in On the Twentieth Century, A Fish Called Wanda, and the upcoming Broadway revival of Present Laughter, Kline began acting in high school, and was among the first to be accepted into the newly founded Drama Division of the Juilliard School in 1970.
Kline’s video message for the campaign emphasizes the life skills students gain by actively participating in theatre—skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. According to Kline, these skills are more important now than ever as we face an ever-growing digital age.
The Theatre in Our Schools campaign is jointly sponsored nationally by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE), the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), and the International Thespian Society (ITS).
The campaign also aims to shed light on the need for access and resources in low-income communities, where theatre is often not part of the educational curriculum.
EdTA Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald points to research showing that students in all academic areas benefit from participation in school theatre, but that there is a troubling gap in opportunities for access. “That is why,” she adds, “raising awareness and support is important.”
Throughout March, thousands of students and theatre educators across the U.S. are taking this message to their communities, school boards, and elected officials. A social media campaign has also been launched to encourage people to share the impact that theatre has had on their lives. Use the hashtags #TIOS17 and #TheatreinOurSchools to share your story on Twitter and Facebook.
The TIOS campaign dovetails with Americans for the Arts’ 30th annual national Arts Advocacy Day, which takes place March 20–21 in Washington, D.C.
For more information about TIOS and to learn how to get involved, visit schooltheatre.org/programs/tios.