What celebration of educational theatre is complete without showcasing the performances that Thespians, theatre students, and their teachers create? At ITF, you’ll find a myriad of performances to attend and participate in. From full-scale productions on the main stage to one-acts that highlight the best work from ITS chapter events around the world, you’ll find multiple new shows to watch each day! Commissioned plays and 24-hour development marathons select casts and mount staged readings during the festival, and individual talents are highlighted at the culminating event of the week: the Thespy Awards Showcase.
Explore all of the performances you can attend and/or be a part of below!
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There’s nothing like the rush of presenting a show for thousands of enthusiastic Thespians—or the electricity you’ll feel being part of all-Thespian audience. The ITF main stage is the only place you can watch the very best high school theatre productions from around the globe—all in one location!
During the academic year, Thespian troupes have the opportunity for their full-length plays and musicals to be adjudicated for constructive feedback and the chance to be invited to perform on the main stage at the International Thespian Festival. Adjudications are done virtually, and eight high-scoring troupes will be selected to bring their full productions to the campus of Indiana University to share with the world.
New Albany High School; Troupe 4501; New Albany, IN
Authors: Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Linda Woolverton
Director: Amy Miller
Performance Info: Thursday, June 23 | 2:30 & 8 p.m. | IU Auditorium
The classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial French village, and the Beast, a tormented young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will return to his former self. But time is running out… This “tale as old as time” never fails to warm hearts and teach us how to love.
Washburn Rural High School; Troupe 6193; Topeka, KS
Author: Lauren Gunderson
Director: Maeghan Bishop
Performance Date: Thursday, June 23 | 2:30 & 8 p.m. | Musical Arts Center
Without William Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have literary masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet. But without Henry Condell and John Heminges, we would have lost half of Shakespeare’s plays forever! After the death of their friend and mentor, the two actors are determined to compile the First Folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives. They’ll have to borrow, beg, and band together to get it done. Amidst the noise and color of Elizabethan London, The Book of Will finds an unforgettable true story of love, loss, and laughter – and sheds new light on a man you may think you know.
Paola High School; Troupe 66; Paola, KS
Author: William Inge
Director: Leslie Coats
Performance Info: Wednesday, June 22 | 2:30 & 8 p.m. | IU Auditorium
In the middle of a howling snowstorm in 1955, a bus out of Kansas City pulls up at a cheerful roadside diner. All roads are blocked, and four or five weary travelers are going to have to hole up until morning. Cherie, the nightclub singer, is being pursued by Bo, the brash cowboy, but as secrets are spilled over the course of the night, destinies will be changed forever as this pair of young lovers struggle to find love in the modern world.
North Broward Preparatory School; Troupe 5880; Coconut Creek, FL
Authors: Terrence McNally, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
Director: Brian Edgecomb
Performance Info: Tuesday, June 21 | 2:30 & 8 p.m. | Musical Arts Center
Based on the hit film and the incredible true story, this high-flying musical comedy about chasing your dreams (and not getting caught) is a big, bright spectacle. Seeking fame and fortune, precocious teenager Frank Abignale, Jr. runs away from home to begin an unforgettable adventure. With nothing more than his boyish charm, big imagination, and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer, all while FBI agent Carl Hanratty inches dangerously closer to catching the imposter.
Bradford High School; Troupe 4982; Kenosha, WI
Authors: Danny Rubin, Tim Minchin
Director: Holly Stanfield
Performance Info: Wednesday, June 22 | 2:30 & 8 p.m. | Musical Arts Center
How would you spend your time if you were forced to repeat the same day over and over again? Phil Connors, a seasoned big-city weatherman, is frustrated to be reporting the annual Groundhog Day ceremony in the small town of Punxsutawney, PA. His arrogance and cynicism are in direct contrast to the cheery townsfolk, who are perpetually ready to celebrate the winter holiday. As Phil awakens day after day, will he be forced to relive February 2nd for eternity? Or will he learn the secret that will set him free?
Lincoln Southwest High School; Troupe 6547; Lincoln, NE
Authors: Harvey Fierstein, Cyndi Lauper
Director: Bob Henrichs
Performance Info: Tuesday, June 21 | 2:30 & 8 p.m. | IU Auditorium
Based on an exhilarating true story about a struggling shoe factory, this musical will lift your spirits to high-heeled heights! Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds unexpected inspiration from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. As they work to turn the factory around, the unlikely pair find that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible and discover that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.
Do you live for discovering a new favorite show? ITF’s showcase of Chapter Select performances celebrates 20 one-act productions from ITS chapters around the world. Join the audience to discover rich new theatrical works or to rediscover a classic piece from a fresh new angle. Every show represents the absolute best from chapters far and wide!
Thespian chapters have the opportunity to send one top-scoring one-act performance from their respective festivals/conferences to the International Thespian Festival. Twenty Chapter Select performances will be showcased at ITF (slots are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis), so you'll be sure to see a glimpse of what's happening across the #ThespianNation.
By M.G. Davidson
Presented by Marianas High School, Troupe 5374; Francisco Mendiola Sablan Middle School, Troupe 88752; Green Meadows School, Troupe 89321; and Hopwood Middle School, Troupe 88755; Saipan, MP
Director: R. Jody Coloma
Ah, high school. The
best worst four years of your life! The friends, the memories, the life lessons, and of course the... inevitably haunting embarrassments that will leave emotional scars for years to come! Join a group of real-life high school students as they uncover the wonders perils of gym class, the marvels horrors of field trips, the joy humilitation of prom, and many more of the numerous fond traumatizing aspects of life as a high school student.
By Christopher Durang
Presented by Tigard High School; Troupe 2833; Tigard, OR
Director: Deja Fitzwater
George Spelvin is NOT your average American accountant. Join George as he forced to understudy the leads in several iconic shows (or dreams...) where he does not know any of the lines. This comedic one-act dives into the world of nightmares, theater, romance, God, death, and maybe even accountants; No promises. It's surreal, it appeals, and it'll get you in your feels.
By Jacquelyn Priskorn
Presented by Clay County High School; Troupe 8840; Manchester, KY
Director: Donnie Stevens
Chelsea and Devon are best friends. When Chelsea shares her secret with Devon that she has cystic fibrosis, Devon creates a fantasy world for the two of them to live in as L’Sea, a woman who becomes a dragon twice a day and D’Nova, renowned artisan of comical barn wood signs and a magician’s apprentice. But Devon has a secret, too, and it is about to bring their whole fantasy world crashing down around them.
By Charles George
Presented by North Scott High School; Troupe 739; Eldridge, IA
Director: Stacie Kintigh
Filled with the raging conflict between "Good" and "Evil," this play is an absolutely hilarious melodrama about Desperate Daniel Desmond and his vile attempts to betray Bertha, the beautiful typewriter girl. Every possible angle of the old-time melodrama is incorporated: stolen diamonds, a vengeful scheme, manly heroism, and the pure and noble actions of our hero and heroine who unflinchingly face almost insurmountable odds!
By Ed Monk
Presented by North Moore High School; Troupe 4945; Robbins, NC
Director: Kimberly Fielder-Jones
In the near future, an American soldier sits in a combat zone, trapped by a land mine. As he waits to see what will happen to him, scenes from his past, present, and future unfold around him.
By Jonathan Rand
Presented by Bishop Gorman Catholic High School; Troupe 4347; Las Vegas, NV
Director: Elena Ferrante-Martin
Soon after their relationship ends, Guy and Girl are forced by their well-intentioned best friends to plunge back into the dating pool. Unfortunately, that pool is filled with foot-reading psychics, frustrated polygamists, and extreme accountants…And pirates. But are blind dates really that unbearable? Yes. Yes they are.
By Bryan Starchman
Presented by Torrington High School; Troupe 757; Torrington, WY
Director: Christine Quillen
Everyone has some burden, but shared pain is always easier to bear. Divided We Fall shows us that any frustration, embarrassment, loneliness, and grief we are experiencing is not limited to ourselves. Whether it's feeling invisible, recovering from being victimized, running away to escape home life, or feeling guilty after failing to defend someone who needed help, the themes are universal for young people. Divided We Fall reminds us that although we may think we are all alone, there is actually love and support all around.
By George Brant
Presented by Spotswood High School; Troupe 6794; Penn Laird, VA
Director: Justine Mackey
Elephant's Graveyard is the true tale of the tragic collision of a struggling circus and a tiny town in Tennessee, which resulted in the only known lynching of an elephant. Set in September of 1916, the play combines historical fact and legend, exploring the deep-seated American craving for spectacle, violence, and revenge. Note: The nature of the events described or re-enacted in this play may be disturbing to some.
By Don Zolidis
Presented by Ridge Point High School; Troupe 7678; Missouri City, TX
Directors: Ireland Ga-an, Sophia Koepplinger
Amaryllis is determined to win her Girl Scout troop's cookie-selling contest, but she'll need more than charm to win first prize (a unicorn!) and avoid last place (which means getting kicked out of the troop!). So when sales droop, she naturally turns to the financial sector for advice. Soon she's faking a terminal illness, franchising her methods, and contracting with a payday lender to offer 30-year loans for cookies. Empowered is a hysterical homage to Glengarry Glen Ross and a send-up of the wild excesses of the financial crisis.
By Jiggs Burgess
Presented by Bridgeport High School; Troupe 7549; Bridgeport, WV
Director: Trina Byard
On the last day of his life, William Chesley Shaw is haunted, figuratively and literally, by his past. He had been the superintendent of the New London, Texas school district on March 18, 1937, when, due to a gas leak from an improperly installed pipe beneath the school, the New London school exploded. The children of the New London school, led by Amelia (the girl in the white pinafore), now haunt Shaw. Hurt and confused, Amelia cannot move on until she can forgive herself for her mistakes on that fateful day and Shaw for his leading to the tragedy. More a story of the search for redemption than an outright ghost story, The Girl In The White Pinafore asks tough questions about guilt and grief. Based on real events that touch our lives still.
By Ray Bradbury
Presented by Arroyo Grande High School; Troupe 648; Arroyo Grande, CA
Director: Sophie Rhiannon Long
What would you do if you were a million miles from Earth and your rocket ship was hit by a meteor and suddenly split open, leaving you floating in space with only your communicator to link you and your six crew members? Faced with this problem, Bradbury's characters contemplate their fate and philosophize about life and its purpose in this contemporary drama.
By James McLure
Presented by Vestavia Hills High School; Troupe 1437; Vestavia Hills, AL
Director: Jamie Stephenson
The setting is the front porch of Roy and Elizabeth’s home in Maynard, Texas, on a hot summer afternoon. Elizabeth and her friend Hattie are whiling away the time folding laundry, watching TV, sipping bourbon and Coke, and gossiping about the many open secrets which are so much a part of small-town life. They are joined by the self-righteous Amy Lee who, among other tidbits, can’t resist blurting out that Roy has been seen around town with another woman. While the ensuing conversation is increasingly edged with bitter humor, from it emerges a sense of Elizabeth’s inner strength and her quiet understanding of the turmoil which has beset her husband since his return from Vietnam. He is wild, and he is unfaithful, but he needs her, and she loves him. And she’ll be waiting for him when he comes home—no matter what others may say or think.
By Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, based on the book by Ilene Beckerman
Presented by Patuxent High School; Troupe 6194; Lusby, MD
Director: Allen Price
Love, Loss and What I Wore follows fragmented stories about the nostalgic power of women’s clothing. The throughline is narrated by Gingy, a wise woman who reminisces about what she wore at milestones in her life—complete with sketches of the styles. Like a long heart-to-heart with your best friend over coffee with odes to black clothing, cowboy boots, and outfits that make mothers cringe, Love, Loss and What I Wore is unabashedly girly—in a good way.
By Mike Kenny
Presented by Alma High School; Troupe 6338; Alma, AR
Director: Danny Hobson
April 1916. It’s Easter week in Dublin, Ireland and a rebellion is brewing. But political and military revolution is the last thing on young Christy Brady's mind. He’s just carrying a message for his Ma. It turns out to be just the first of many messages he carries that week, and each one takes him closer and closer to the heart of the conflict that would become known as the Easter Rising.
Adapted by Duane Hartford from the book by Kate DiCamilllo
Presented by Dreher High School; Troupe 3940; Columbia, SC
Director: Kathleen Pennyway
Edward Tulane is an expensive toy rabbit made of china. He is loved by a little girl named Abilene, but Edward doesn’t care. He is vain and self-centered. He has no interest in anyone other than himself. On an ocean voyage, Edward is accidentally thrown overboard and sinks to the bottom of the sea. So begins his journey—a journey over which he has no control, for he is a toy rabbit. He can neither move nor speak. As years pass by, Edward meets many different people in many different situations. Through this miraculous journey, Edward learns what it is to love, what it is to lose that love, and how to find the courage to love again. Based on Kate DiCamillo’s beautiful novel of the same name, the play is a theatrical tour de force for a small ensemble of actors and musicians.
By William Shakespeare, Adapted by Jon Jory
Presented by Mount Carmel Academy; Troupe 2075; New Orleans, LA
Director: Kristi Jacobs-Stanley
Four Athenian lovers run away to the forest where they become prey to the whims of the mischievous fairies who inhabit it. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s most-popular comedy of adventure, marriage, and forest creatures mixes contemporary and classical language to present a one-of-a-kind new take on The Bard’s work.
By Stephen Gregg
Presented by Hamilton High School; Troupe 6030; Chandler, AZ
Director: Christina R. Vail
Emily desperately wants to play the lead in her high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Instead, she gets a one-line, four-word role. Nonetheless, she tells her parents (who will be out of town during the performance) that she got the lead, and suddenly, things spin way out of control. Mom and Dad cancel their vacation plans and invite every relative they can round up to come visit and see their daughter play Juliet. This outlandishly funny and very touching play is about the roles we all play—in theatre and in life.
By Kristen Doherty
Presented by Hoboken High School; Troupe 7268; Hoboken, NJ
Directors: Derek Kinnear, Britteny Schruefer, Danielle Miller
TEEN examines social and emotional issues faced by contemporary teenagers. Designed to be performed and watched in a high school context, TEEN consists of a selection of short scenes and monologues written within the genre of Epic Theatre. Issues such as bullying, body image, peer group pressure, jealousy, love, anxiety, friendship struggles, sexuality, and relationships with parents are explored. Every scene is based on real life accounts and events; some funny, some challenging, some heartbreaking, but all real.
By Don Zolidis
Presented by Tupelo High School; Troupe 1949; Tupelo, MS
Director: Phillip Milner
Mom and Dad love to tell the story of how they met in 1986 – "pretty much the most awesome year ever." Trouble is, they remember their courtship completely differently. Mom's version makes their meeting sound like a sappy romantic comedy while Dad somehow makes himself the star of a karate battle. This tubular one-act is a crazy homage to bad 80s movies and the inadequacies of memory.
By Peter Tarsi
Presented by Salina Central High School; Troupe 639; Salina; KS
Director: Barbara Hilt
A group of strangers meet in a dirty subway station. They have arrived with limited personal belongings, their watches have stopped, and they all claim to be in different cities. Soon they learn there is no way out of the station, and the unfortunate truth is told to them: they are all dead. Since subway stations have two sides, they reason the train leaving from one platform must be bound for heaven, while the train leaving from the other platform must be bound for hell. But which platform are they on? As the subway train finally approaches, they must decide whether to stay and reflect upon their lives, or to have faith and climb aboard to their final destination.
The deadline for submissions for ITF 2022 has passed, but you can View the Chapter Select Guide for complete details on the selection process.
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. The top scorers in each category will be announced live at the Thespy Award Showcase, the culminating event of the festival, which also features selected performances and highlights from technical categories.
For more information, visit the official Thespys website:
The ultimate collaboration for theatremakers! Everything's on the line when you write, rehearse, and perform a brand-new play in a single day! Now, the team behind the international phenomenon comes to ITF to create six brand-new 24-hour plays with YOU!
Each registered Thespian troupe attending ITF may nominate one student in each of four disciplines – playwrights, directors, stage managers, and actors – to audition for six production teams. If selected, you'll be off and running to write, rehearse, and perform a new original work in just 24 short hours. Anything can happen!
"The equivalent of a high-wire act without a net"
The New York Post
Troupe director nominations must be submitted by June 1, 2022. Nominated students must be affiliated with an active troupe, but induction into ITS is not required for participation. Kick-off for selected teams is at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 23 and the final performance is the very next day from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, June 24. View The 24 Hour Plays Guide for all the details on how you can participate!
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Always wanted an inside peek at the creative process? At ITF, you can be part of the development of an original play written by one of your fellow Thespians! Students entering the Playwriting category of the Thespys submit original works for adjudication prior to arriving in Bloomington. Top-scoring playwrights are selected to workshop their pieces at ITF. A professional director and dramaturg will cast, rehearse, and help to refine the students' original scripts, culminating with a live staged reading. There's no better way to learn how a new play is developed than to be part of it! (View more information on how to enter the Thespy Playwriting category as an author.)
Be part of a brand-new play written by playwright Joe Calarco! Debuting for the first time at ITF 2022, Spring Break is a brand-new sequel to Calarco's 2020 play Winter Break. On the first night of spring break, new friendships are made and old ones are tested as the nineteen teenagers we first met in Winter Break continue to find joy, wonder, and heartache in the world they're trying to find their place in.
Selected actors will participate in the first-ever workshop and staged reading of this fresh new work. Experience what it's like to work with a professional playwright to develop a new piece of theatre and gain valuable experience that will make you a more agile actor, a stronger collaborator, and a seasoned pro at dissecting new works!
Registered students interested in participating in the Commissioned Play workshop and staged reading (as performers or stage managers) should submit a virtual audition by June 1 via the form below. Students need not be an inducted Thespian to participate. Auditionees who are cast in the workshop/reading will be notified by June 15. Workshop rehearsals will be held at designated times during the week of ITF, culminating in a staged reading of the play at 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 24.
Calling all actors, artists, creators, and performers! Join us for this electrifying workshop of a new musical, written exclusively for ITF! Award-winning musical theatre writing team Kait Kerrigan and Bree Lowdermilk (The Mad Ones) combine their song-writing talents with esteemed playwright, cabaret artist, and YA author Justin Elizabeth Sayre (Ravenswood Manor) to create Ernxst, or the Importance of Being, an electro-pop musical romp through Oscar Wilde’s classic, The Importance of Being Earnest.
This innovative adaptation of Wilde’s seminal comedy maintains the original’s manners and misgivings in the search for love, but adds to Wilde’s vision by breaking down boundaries around gender and identity, reminding us all of the importance of being exactly who we are. Come and join this amazing team as they build a new vision of a classic work that makes room for everyone. In addition to working with Kait, Bree, and Justin, participants will present the first public showcase of this brand-new musical!
From the writers: The musical features 20 total characters, with 7 principal roles and a fabulous chorus of “Wildes,” who emcee the evening and embody the inner voice of Oscar Wilde. We aim to create a play and environment where everyone is seen and honored for exactly who they are. In the spirit of this practice and indeed in the spirit of our show, we encourage actors of all genders, races, abilities, and identities to audition for the roles that appeal most to their point of view. Your sensibilities and strengths will bring wonders to this piece – wonders we’re excited to see.
Registered students interested in participating in the Commissioned Musical workshop and staged reading (as performers or stage managers) should submit a virtual audition by June 1 via the form below. Students need not be an inducted Thespian to participate. Auditionees who are cast in the workshop/reading will be notified by June 15. Workshop rehearsals will be held at designated times during the week of ITF, culminating in a staged reading of the play at 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 24.
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