Another year of advocating for accessibility is ITO Addison Blumberg’s motto. Let her tell you more in her own words.

Meet ITO Addison Blumberg

Hello, again, thespians! It is such an honor to continue to serve as an ITO for the 2022-23 school year as well as act as your Chair. I am a current senior at Pennsbury High School (ITS Troupe #830) in Pennsylvania. I am passionate about driving change and advocating for theatre accessibility in schools. 

Introducing the STAGE Initiative

I am thrilled to introduce a new initiativestudents acting on stage with other people on the gym floor watching the show I have been developing entitled STAGE. STAGE, which stands for Sharing Theatre and Guiding Emotions, is a program I started that works to expand the scope of theatre education by introducing elementary and middle-school level students to the art of performance while encouraging social and emotional learning.

What is it?  In the STAGE program, one-act plays are performed by high school students for elementary and middle schoolers. These shows demonstrate character education themes which promote core ethical and supportive performance values as the foundation of good character.

I begin by selecting and directing a show that demonstrates these characteristics and then take the play to elementary and middle schools across my district. After experiencing theatre and exposure to the arts through first-hand experience, I teach students about elements of theatre and how they can participate in the arts within their community and school.

I also provide teachers with a curriculum I crafted that accompanies each show to reinforce the social and emotional aspects (SEL) of the performance and the lessons the characters learned.

log with maroon background and white letters that say STAGE in all caps

STAGE: Sharing Theatre and Guiding Emotions

What is the STAGE goal? The goal is to encourage participation of high school thespian troupe members in theatre. During the past couple years as schools were affected by COVID restrictions we saw record lows in student participation. We want to provide an opportunity for children to experience theatre, and teach character education themes. Moreover, I want to create a tool box of shows and curriculum so that the program can be adopted in schools around the globe. 

The ITO and the ITSLC

This year’s class of ITO and I hope to expand the International Thespian Student Leadership Council (ITSLC). The ITSLC meets monthly to develop student leadership skills, elevate the voice of student innovation and input, and foster communication among chapter leaders. It also serves as the voting body for ITO elections.

We want to ensure that the ITSLC is a forum in which student leaders can communicate, learn from, and help one another in order to grow as both individuals and as an organization. 

The ITSLC will join in and support advocacy work to continue the efforts begun by last year’s ITO to have March declared as Theatre in Our Schools Month nationally in the United States. To do so, we first want to encourage individual chapters to work on achieving this within their own state for 2023 to pave the way for national recognition.  ♦

young woman at podium with microphone speakingConnect with Addie at @addie.blumberg, @stageprogram or by email at [email protected].

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