The Best of Live Theatre High-School Style: International Thespian Festival 2022 Announced

The #BetterTogether theme runs through all of ITF's activities as the festival returns in person in 2022 after a two-year hiatus.

The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) has announced three of Broadway's bright stars are joining us to encourage and entertain attendees at this year's International Thespian Festival (ITF). They'll also join in celebrating the best in high school theatre as multiple productions are performed on the Main Stage daily.

Michael James Scott, the longstanding Genie in Disney's Aladdin on Broadway, will emcee both the opening night ceremony as well as the closing night's Thespy Awards Showcase. Storm Lever, currently playing Anne Boleyn in the national tour of SIX: The Musical, will deliver the keynote address on opening night, the general theme of which will remind us that we're all #BetterTogether. Additionally, Paul Canaan, dance captain for the original production of Kinky Boots, will teach three different dance workshops centered around his career as a storied Broadway dancer.

The #BetterTogether theme runs through all of ITF's activities as the festival returns in person in 2022 after a two-year hiatus. The festival also celebrates its return to the campus of Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, Indiana, where it debuted in 1941. There's still time to register before June 1, 2022, so don't miss out on the fun. There are opportunities for both students and teachers to refine theatrical skills, network, and watch the best in high school plays and musicals!

ITF 2022 MAIN STAGE PERFORMANCES: The highly coveted invitation to the Main Stage is a huge honor for International Thespian Society students. High-caliber productions from across the country are screened each year, and the top-scoring schools receive an invitation to bring their productions to ITF. This year's lineup includes two titles never seen on the ITF Main Stage*, and two schools that are showcasing for the first time^:

Bradford High School Troupe 4982; Kenosha, Wis.; Groundhog Day: The Musical*
Authors: Danny Rubin, Tim Minchin; Director: Holly Stanfield

Lincoln Southwest High School Troupe 6547; Lincoln, Neb.; Kinky Boots*
Authors: Harvey Fierstein, Cyndi Lauper; Director: Bob Henrichs

New Albany High School Troupe 4501; New Albany, Ind.; Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Authors: Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Linda Woolverton; Director: Amy Miller

North Broward Preparatory School^ Troupe 5880; Coconut Creek, Fla.; Catch Me If You Can
Authors: Terrence McNally, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman; Director: Brian Edgecomb

Paola High School Troupe 66; Paola, Kan.; Bus Stop
Author: William Inge; Director: Leslie Coats

Washburn Rural High School^ Troupe 6190; Topeka, Kan.; The Book of Will
Author: Lauren Gunderson; Director: Meaghan Bishop

"We are thrilled to continue to celebrate the incredible work done by theatre students and teachers in schools and programs all around the world," said Matt Curtis, EdTA's Content and Marketing Director. "Our flagship event not only provides recognition for the hard work that so often goes unrecognized in theatre education, but it also acts as a recharging moment for our continued advocacy of theatre as part of a well-rounded education. If you need a spirit boost, come experience the determination of these young Thespians."

EVEN MORE LIVE THEATRE: ITF's showcase of Chapter Select performances celebrates 20 one-ACT Productions from Thespian troupes around the world, each a shining example of the best work presented at EdTA's regional chapter events. Audiences can discover rich, new theatrical works or rediscover a classic piece from a fresh new angle.

The Educational Theatre Foundation, the charitable arm of EdTA, will present a performance by Tri-Cities High School (East Point, Ga.), a pilot in the new Pathway program that seeks to provide racial equity through school theatre. Audiences are invited into the extravagant, decadent, and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in their production of the bio-musical Fela! Using his pioneering music (a blend of jazz, funk, and African rhythm and harmonies), students in the program explore Kuti's controversial life as artist, political activist, and revolutionary musician.

The culminating event of the festival is the Thespy Awards Showcase. Broadway has the Tonys, Hollywood has the Oscars, Thespians have the Thespys. The International Thespian Excellence Awards recognize the highest level of achievement in school theatre performance and technical theatre. Thespians who receive overall Superior scores at a chapter qualifying event are invited to have their performances adjudicated at the international level at ITF. The top scorers in each category will be announced live at the Thespy Award Showcase, which also features selected performances and highlights from technical categories.

EdTA wishes to thank the many sponsors who are helping to make this event possible: The 24 Hour Plays; The American Academy of Dramatic Arts; Bodymics; BookTix; Broadway Licensing; Broadway Media; Broadway Plus; Concord Theatricals; Disney Theatrical Productions; the Dramatists Guild; iHeartRadio Broadway; Ludus; Music Theatre International; OpenJar Instutute; PLAYBILLder; ShowTix4U; StageWrite Software; and Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

The Educational Theatre Association, home to the Educational Theatre Foundation and International Thespian Society, is an international nonprofit whose mission is shaping lives through theatre education. The foundation provides essential financial support to enhance theatre education, expand access, and foster racial equity. The International Thespian Society, an Honor Society active in nearly 5,000 schools, has inducted 2.4 million students since 1929. Visit to learn how EdTA honors students, supports teachers, and influences public opinion that theatre education is essential for building life skills.

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