Hello, fellow thespians! My name is Addison, or Addie, Blumberg and I am a junior from Pennsbury High School Troupe #830 in Pennsylvania. Serving as one of your International Thespian Officers is one of the greatest opportunities of my life! I am passionate about expanding the scope of theatre advocacy and ensuring that the arts, which have helped me in so many ways, are accessible to everyone.

Meet Addison Blumberg and Her Sister

Theatre accessibility is a cause I am passionate about. At the age of 2, my younger sister, Dakota, was diagnosed with autism. She was completely nonverbal until she reached age 4. It was around this time that I began taking an interest in theatre and would express my passion by parading around my home singing.

Dakota began to mimic my behaviors, and soon enough she was singing before she was speaking! I believe the power of theatre (singing and performing inside our home) gave my sister the courage to begin to navigate her world. Because of this powerful proof of theatre’s influence, I began a fundraiser called Autism ALLways. 

Autism ALLways raises money for families who are unable to afford the care their autistic child needs.  I was able to raise more than $18,000. I want access to theatre to become a part of the services we raise money for because of the impact the arts have had on me, my sister, and my family.

Addison’s ITO Focus 

As a collective, the ITO are working to unite thespians from across the nation and around the world in our group efforts. One of our biggest projects is working together to have March declared Theatre in Our Schools (TIOS) month. We think that large-scale recognition will help nurture a greater respect for theatre training in the academic community. We also think the recognition will emphasize the many ways theatre skills improve students’ lives on stage and in their lives off stage, too. 

Another project ITO Alex and I are working on is giving thespians the tools to advocate within their local communities. We hope to impress the importance of advocacy as a whole and to provide opportunities to learn and grow from one another. 

Theatre & Its Powerful Lessons

Last year, I implemented a new program within my district in which one-act plays are performed by high school students for elementary schoolers. The shows chosen demonstrate character education themes that promote core ethical and supportive values. 

Young people in costumes performing on stafe

Photo credit Rob Gougher

I directed a children’s play about individuality, responsibility, and environmental justice titled Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate. I talked with the students on the importance of theatre education, community, and how they can demonstrate the characteristics they learned about in the play in their own lives. I’m working to recreate this effort with a new one-act.

Addison Blumberg’s Theatre Advocacy Work

This past year, I took advantage of the EdTA’s Capitol Hill week during Theatre in Our Schools month. I went to my local and state legislators to impress upon them the importance of theatre education. With other representatives of the Pennsylvania chapter, we explained how money dedicated to education in the COVID relief package can help support access to arts education for all students.

Through this experience, I also learned how to communicate the mission of theatre education and its legislative requests, as well as the importance of increasing its visibility on Capitol Hill.

I hope to participate again in Capitol Hill Week during TIOS. I want to speak on the importance of theatre education and encourage others to join me as we spread our love of theatre!   

You can connect with Addison Blumberg by email at ablumberg@schooltheatre.org. 

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