International Thespian Society Surpasses $1 Million Raised for BC/EFA

By: Jul. 06, 2012

The International Thespian Society, the honorary organization for high school and middle school theatre students, has topped $1 million in money raised for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, it was announced last week at the group's annual Thespian Festival.

Student thespians across the country support Broadway Cares by hosting audience appeals, bucket brigades, silent auctions, and special performances in their schools. Increasingly, student officers incorporate Broadway Cares fundraising at their state festivals, where thousands of Thespians contribute each year.

Joe Norton, BC/EFA's Director of Education and Outreach, attended the Thespian Festival and shared the good news last week with nearly 3,000 students, teachers and administrators. Through July 2, 2012, Thespians have raised $1,012,807 for Broadway Cares. Watch Norton’s announcement to the thespians at

"Thespians know how to affect change by working together and celebrating their love of theatre," Norton said. "And, in the process, they become leaders who raise awareness about HIV/AIDS where they live, while making a difference for so many people in need in their local communities and around the country."

The International Thespian Society, which is the student faction of the Educational Theatre Association, is consistently Broadway Cares’ strongest collective supporter in schools, raising more money than any other school organization.

"These talented students combine their creativity and boundless energy with a genuine sense of caring for one another," said Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola. "They know that theatre is about so much more than just performing. It's about coming together as a community and this next generation of inspirational actors are leading by example, not only for their classmates but for all of us."

The partnership between the International Thespian Society and Broadway Cares grew from a single school’s community service project in 1999. The enthusiasm that started in Troupe 5464 at North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA, spread to other schools and by the end of the first year, troupes in nine states raised more than $10,000. Now, thespians from almost every state fundraise for Broadway Cares.

Speaking at the festival, Norton thanked the teachers for inspiring their students to get involved. “You are my true heroes,” he said before encouraging the young actors to stay dedicated to their efforts.

"You are making such an incredible difference in the world," Norton said. "You're changing the lives of so many people."