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        This year, New Jersey Thespians is implementing a DemocracyWorks student essay competition. Originally the program was founded by the Educational Theatre Association in 2009 to support and grow student advocacy on behalf of theatre and other arts education. We are so excited to announce for the second year in a row, ArtPride New Jersey has agreed to co-sponsor the award!


On the national level, since 2009, more than 270 students have written essays and submitted them to EdTA focusing on topics ranging from the importance of diversity to the value of theatre education in a democratic society. Each year's winner earns a trip to Washington, D.C. to take part in National Arts Advocacy Day, where they read their essay before attendees and visit Capitol Hill to meet with legislators to talk about the value of arts education. In 2018, EdTA implemented a Theatre Education Advocacy Day where Theatre Educators from around the US went to Washington to advocate for theatre arts education. Theatre Education Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association, brings together arts education advocates from throughout the country to meet with legislators on behalf of a wide range of arts issues, including arts education. 


New Jersey’s essay competition winner(s) will attend the 2024 National Arts Action Summit. It has not been announced if the event will take place virtually or in person. The winner (s) will be attending with New Jersey’s Arts Advocacy Chair Zachery Bates and Chapter Director Carolyn Little. Multiple EdTA officials and NJ leaders will also be in attendance at this event. A panel of Theatre Education professionals & Advocacy Leadership Network members will choose one or two essay winner(s) based on their application and response to the above question.


The Deadline for submission: December 15, 2023. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

All information on submission is listed in the requirements letter, attached below. All Applications for the 2023-2024 DemocracyWorks Essay Competition will be submitted through OpenWater.

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