Local Advocacy

Most decisions about theatre in the school curriculum are made at the local level by principals, superintendents, and school boards.

Getting started

  • Establish a positive and open communication channel with your school administrators.
  • Make a point to learn when your school board meets and who its members are.
  • Find out who the local decision makers are and reach out to them: the mayor, district school superintendent, city council, chamber of commerce, superintendent, etc.
  • Build a network of supporters that you can call on when there is a need for quick action.


Contact other ITS troupe directors in your district to help organize a long-term theatre education advocacy strategy.


Participate in the year-round Theatre In Our Schools (TIOS) campaign, an effort to promote awareness of theatre education's value and purpose in schools across America, culminating in a month-long celebration in March. Encourage your fellow Thespians to do the same, and begin planning how you can promote TIOS at public events--shows, school board meetings, and your Thespian conferences. TIOS is jointly sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association and the American Alliance for Theatre & Education.

Community members:

Attend school board meetings and request to get on the agenda. Use the materials below to advocate for starting a theatre program or growing resources for the theatre program.

Here's a set of EdTA-created tools and resources to help you articulate the value of your program and defend it:


Theatre and the Arts: did you know?

Ads for member conference and production programs


Dear Ms. Smith

The Dear Ms. Smith template letters are designed to help teachers and students create a statement that supports the value of their program and theatre education in general.


The Advocacy Game

The Advocacy Game is an improv exercise designed to help advocates refine their public presentation skills. In the game, scene partners are either “Askers” or a “Target Audience." The "Askers" are seeking support while members of the "Target Audience" resist giving giving it.


Thank, Ask, Explain

The Thank, Ask, Explain Powerpoint is an editable slide presentation and narrative that can be used a guide for creating an in-person advocacy presentation before a school board or other decision making body.

Freedom of Expression

In 2008, EdTA, in collaboration the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, created a Freedom of Expression Statement. The statement provides guidelines and support for theatre educators in the play selection process and policy guidance for school and district administrators.


Arts Education for America's Students, A Shared Endeavor

Arts Education for America’s Students, A Shared Endeavor, a statement created and endorsed by twelve national arts and education organizations (including EdTA), outlines the importance of high quality arts education and those responsible for providing it to students.