YOU’RE THE TYPE OF THESPIAN who gravitates to the front of the pack. You love to take the lead whether onstage or off.  Shining in your main theatre role — as an actor, designer, director, writer, or crew member — you find yourself taking on other parts. Whether as a troupe officer or helping younger students learn the skills that will help them become Thespians one day, you love to take the lead.

If this sounds like you, consider applying to become an International Thespian Officer (ITO). The ITO are the student leaders of the International Thespian Society (ITS). Six candidates are elected by their fellow Thespians in March for the upcoming school year. If you’re a sophomore or junior in good academic standing and an inducted Thespian, you’re eligible to apply.

Jeyna Lynn Gonzales takes the lead as an ITO 2020-21.

Jeyna Lynn Gonzales

“The biggest lesson learned so far [serving as an ITO] has been to have faith in myself and my opinions. Before being an ITO, as a leader and a person, it was much more common for me to gaslight myself and back down from something I care about. My colleagues and mentors have been helpful in opening up conversations to listen to all perspectives. Thanks to them, I feel more comfortable speaking up.”

Thespians on a Mission: Take the Lead

Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within ITS and the broader theatre world is an important goal of EdTA. Since the ITO program is working for a more accurate and diverse representation of all participants, students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, and students with special needs are especially encouraged to apply. (Note: Attending the Student Leadership Training at the International Thespian Festival is not a requirement this year.

Top Reasons to Take the Lead

Once elected, you’ll step right into programs and activities. The skills that got you elected will make a difference. The projects you’ll tackle will help you learn and grow. For example, leading workshops for your fellow Thespians.

The person overseeing the work of the International Thespian Student Leadership Council, made up of Thespian officers from around the country, is you. There are subcommittees to work on that will benefit your fellow students. You’ll advocate for arts education.

One of the most powerful jobs of the ITO is to act as the student voice within the Educational Theatre Association, which operates ITS. As an ITO, you’ll influence the staff who runs Thespian programs and events, and the board members who shape organization policies. Plus, you’ll be doing all this in service of creating the best possible experience for student members.

Another great opportunity for exposure in the industry is that you’ll be the face of ITS in a variety of activities throughout the year. You’ll lead workshops and social media campaigns. You’ll even get to share your wisdom here on In doing so, you’ll not only be a voice for students, but potentially inspire other Thespians like you to participate in student leadership.


One person CAN make a difference! In your ITO role, you’ll be in a unique position to share your message and influence both students and adults about your cause. Make time to enter and start your application now — the deadline is April 15, 2021. 

Historically, each ITO class chooses an issue or issues to focus on during their term. With the help of the ITO advisers, they identify ways to make an impact and act on them. A few examples include the “Minute to Give It” collections and rubber duck sale fundraisers you might have seen at ITS events. Or maybe you remember the Send a Leader Diversity Grants initiated by the 2019-2020 ITO class.

Your love for ITS is what drew you to this opportunity. We believe you’ll love immersing yourself in all things Thespian for an entire school year. You’ll get to meet Thespians from all over the country (and world!). You’ll help shape student activities and get to be an emcee at the ultimate Thespian event: the International Thespian Festival.

You’ll always remember your experience as an ITO. As 2018-2019 ITO Audrey Burgoon put it, “Student leadership has given me the tools to find who I want to be.”

Make time to enter and start your application now — the deadline is April 15, 2021. 

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