About Junior Thespians
Since 1929 the International Thespian Society, the student honorary division of the Educational Theatre Association, has worked to promote theatre arts in education. ITS has provided high school-age students and their theatre teachers with support, information, and experiences that make educational theatre an important part of their school experience. In 1990, the Educational Theatre Association has expanded its vision and service of educational theatre to embrace grades kindergarten through twelve. The Junior Thespian component of the International Thespian Society is a result of that change.
The Junior Thespian troupe is a subset of a school’s theatre arts program. It is the student honor society, a separate student organization, and membership is earned. Only students who have been officially inducted and registered with the EdTA national office are members of the International Thespian Society.
Junior Thespian membership is open to students in grades 6 through 8, who have completed at least 50 hours of excellent work in theatre arts. Points are earned for hours spent in rehearsal and performance, working on production crews, set crew, tech crews or in committees, serving on leadership teams and helping with projects. Stars can be awarded for additional points earned.
Student Benefits of Junior Thespian induction
- Membership in the only international honor society for junior high/middle school theatre arts students—a recognized demonstration of achievement and a valuable addition to college and employment applications.
- An official Junior Thespian induction pin.
- A personalized membership certificate.
- A personalized membership card.
- A bumper sticker that reads: Proud parent of a theatre arts honor student.
- Ability to begin their high school careers with half of the Thespian points required for high school induction.
- Leadership opportunities at the troupe and chapter levels (per chapter policy).
- Eligibility to participate in Thespys at chapter conferences and the National Thespys at Festival (per chapter policy).
- Eligibility to receive Junior Thespian honor items (medallions, point stars, etc.).
- Eligibility to receive Junior Thespian scholar distinction for academic achievement.
Junior Thespians graduating to high school programs. When Junior Thespians graduate from grade eight and move to a high school with a Thespian troupe, they remain Junior Thespian members and alums of their Junior Thespian troupes. They also begin earning points toward a new Thespian membership and induction into the high school troupe. ITS allows Junior Thespians to begin their high school careers with at least half of the Thespian points required for high school induction, normally five Thespian points. The decision as to how many additional points can be carried is made by the troupe director of the high school Thespian troupe, in accordance with the troupe’s constitution and bylaws.
Alabama State Thespian Festival Junior Thespian troupes are invited to attend our State Festival. Junior Troupes are eligible to attend all workshops, and to bring mainstage performances, as well as entries in all Thespys categories and group events, including Chapter Select showcase.
Junior Thespian Festivals. Each year EdTA produces a three-day weekend festival for middle school theatre students. Locations change annually to allow students from different regions to participate. Junior Thespian Festivals are designed to address the needs of the emerging theatre student in a safe environment with others just like themselves. Students participate in workshops on topics such as acting, improv, dance, scene painting, and stage combat. There are many opportunities to perform and enjoy the performances of others. Registration materials are mailed to Junior Thespian troupe directors each fall and are available on the EdTA website as well.
Helpful Links for Junior Thespian Troupe Directors:
Junior Thespian Troupe Director Resource Page:
Junior Thespian Troupe Handbook:
Benefits of Starting a Junior Thespian Troupe at your School, including presentation resources: