Thespian Democracyworks Essay Competition

The Educational Theatre Association’s tenth annual Democracyworks Essay Competition is open to all Thespians members.

Democracyworks 2019 Guidelines
In 2019, the International Thespian Society is marking its 90th anniversary. To celebrate this momentous year we’re showcasing the history of ITS—the past, present, and future—with stories from members about how theatre education has made a difference in their lives. In this challenging era where access to arts education is at risk, those stories have the power to change the hearts and minds of decision makers and to influence public opinion.
We all have a theatre story to tell—as a student, much of your story has yet to be told. But you are a theatre student and there was a moment, an event, or individual that made you want to be on stage or back stage, or in some other meaningful role that made you feel like what you were doing mattered and that it mattered to others as well.

In that spirit, this year’s Democracyworks prompt is:
“What’s your theatre story and how has it made a difference in your life?”

The Educational Theatre Association will choose one essay winner based on his or her response to the above question.

Eligibility: Any inducted member of the International Thespian Society (by March 1, 2019) who is enrolled in middle or high school during the 2018-19 school year may submit an essay. Important: If your essay is selected you must be available to attend Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., March 4-5. EdTA will pay $1,500 towards the cost of travel and attendance for the winner and a chaperone. The winner is responsible for any remaining costs of attendance. The winner will also receive a $250 cash prize; the first runner-up will be awarded $150; the second runner-up, $100. Previous winners are not eligible.

Arts Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Americans for the Arts, brings together arts advocates from throughout the country to meet with legislators on behalf of a wide range of arts issues, including arts education. The winning essayist will take part in all scheduled Arts Advocacy Day events, including legislative training on current arts issues circulating on Capitol Hill; the Congressional Arts Breakfast; visits to representatives’ and senators’ offices; and the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Essay guidelines: Essayists should reflect on how their personal theatre story has made a difference in their life.

Submission procedures: All essays must be between 500-700 words, based on the prompt, and submitted electronically on Academicworks. Essays should be double-spaced, in 12-point type, using Word software (or a comparable word-processing program). Please fill out all required fields in the general application. Title your essay “Thespian Democracyworks Essay.” All participants will receive an auto-reply confirming receipt of their essay; semi-finalists will be contacted by e-mail after the essay review process is completed, around February 8. The winner and runners-up will contacted after February 15.

Awards: The winner will receive $1,500 toward expenses to attend Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., March 4-5, 2018, plus $250 cash. In addition to this, the winning essay and a photo of the winner will be published in Dramatics Magazine. The first runner-up essayist will be awarded $150, and second runner-up, $100.

Rights: Your essay is protected by copyright from the moment it is created. By submitting to the Educational Theatre Association, you are agreeing to allow EdTA to publish your essay in print and online.

The Deadline for submission is February 1, 2019.

This opportunity is for an inducted Thespian of the International Thespian Society (ITS), the student honorary organization of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA).

The Educational Theatre Association