NJ Thespians is a state chapter of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), which sponsors the International Thespian Society (ITS). It is our mission to promote, strengthen, and advocate for theatre arts education in New Jersey’s schools.
We offer both a high school theatre festival and a middle school theatre festival. Our middle school festival offers our students to attend a variety of workshops presented by industry professionals. Some of their credits include the Actors Playground School of Theatre, The Circus Place, Studio School in Los Angeles, Schubin Studios, Exit 82 Theatre Company, and Rider University. Students are also given a chance to perform a 15 minute portion of their musical in our Festival Showcase. Middle school students are also given the opportunity to compete in National categories like monologue, duet acting, solo musical, and duet musical.
Our high school festival stands out from others in the state as we include both a competitive side and an educational component. Students can opt to compete in National categories. Winning a superior in any of these categories allows them to perform at the International Thespian Festival in June.
On the competitive side, our judges are industry professionals from NYC and NJ. Their resumes include The STAGE Network, Michele Baldwin Enterprises, Albright College, Breaking Through the Box Theatre Company, the Actor's Playhouse, Walt Disney World, Theatre Horizon, Trip Advisor, Feinstein's/ 54 Below, and Temple University. Many are members of Actor's Equity. Their degree programs are a wide-variety including Princeton University, Montclair State University, Pace University, Westminster Choir College, Carnegie Mellon University, Florida State University, and Mason Gross School of the Arts. We even have judges who have worked on the Miss NY Pageant, The National Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC.
On the educational side we offer over 30 different workshops. Our workshop leaders are industry professionals who hail from all over our state and beyond. Many come from colleges/ universities like Rider University, Temple University, Greensboro College, and University of the Arts. We also have many facilitators from organizations like Appel Farms, NJ Writers Theatre, the Count Basie Center for the Arts, the Bucks County Playhouse, and Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.
Our high school festival offers a Teacher's track where directors and chaperones can attend a variety of workshops geared towards their interests. They earn PD hours for attendance. We also host a Director's Lounge for our adults to take a break which includes a free lunch on Saturday and tea and snacks throughout the weekend.
For the students we also offer college auditions and scholarship auditions. Additionally, we offer summer program auditions. In the past, students have won both full and partial scholarships to Appel Farm Arts Camp, Broadway Artists Alliance, Powerhouse Theatre Program at Vassar College, University of the Arts, and Rider University.
At the state level we have 2 volunteer boards, a middle school board and a high school board. Both include a large number of talented and dedicated volunteers who mission is to showcase the arts in education throughout our state. In addition to adults, we also have programs for JSTO (Junior Student Thespian Officer) and STO (Student Thespian Officer). These students are chosen to represent our state. Our JSTO primarily help plan the middle school festival. Our STO help plan our high school festival, but they are also charged with helping to run our middle school festival, working the Broadway Flea Market in NYC, and attending National Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.
If you are interested in attending our festival in any capacity, please email our Chapter Director Carolyn Little at firstname.lastname@example.org