VA Thespian Update

VA Thespians Kudos & Happenings

December: VTF One month away, holidays, and school breaks for days!

We hope you join us for festival next month! Let us know how we can help get you there! We would also love to share out about your productions on our social media pages. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram so we can follow you back/keep track of your happenings. You may see your school or show featured soon. Please send 1 headshot/picture of your Thespians in action and 1 paragraph about your program to executivedirector@vathespian.org so we can brag about you next.


As of today, general registration for VTF is over BUT... you can still sign up for late registration until December 15th! We are waiving late fees this year in hopes to get you there! Reach out with any needs for assistance or questions.

Here's what to expect at VTF with COVID-19:

Last Call for Festival!

Please register you and all your students by the 15th before registration closes. Also last call for students to apply for our VTF scholarships! Apply today!!

Teacher Tool of the Month: Project Share-a-thon Resource!

Have a GREAT project that worked well? Share it here! Check out the slides to guide the types of projects others are sharing and hopefully if many contribute, you will have a plethora of projects to use for future ideas. As you go to the winter break or other school breaks with more time, maybe you can dive deep and plan a future impact, PBL, or other community project. Our executive director provided two from her high school theatre teaching years, do you have any to add? If you haven't already, complete this survey to better include more ideas in the future after the holiday break. Hang in there as the longer break is right around the corner and then hopefully we can all be together in January at Shenandoah!

BONUS RESOURCE: Happy Holidays & Lessons!

Teachers, Troupe Directors, Members, & More,


We appreciate you! In a very tough time, in a very tough year, we see you working hard! Here are some more resources to get you to the next holiday break! We are here for you and are happy to support how we can.


Virtual workshops: We were able to record our Colleges Q&A as well as our Devised Theatre workshop. Feel free to watch with your classes, etc. Use or lose as you need!


Here is a great lesson plan that you could turn into a bonus unit, holiday unit, whatever on sewing skills for your classes, student groups, etc.


Good news- Fairfax County has a mask optional policy now. Maybe your county will be next! Our petition is helping others, share it around and maybe it will help you too! Have a wonderful and happy holiday season & break! You deserve it!


Hope to see you at #VTF2022! Also read below for even MORE resources coming soon!

On The Stage Resources

Hi ITS subscribers,


I recently talked with Addie about the work she’s seeing ITS member departments do across Virginia.


Needless to say, your efforts are extraordinary.


Hearing about the different ways educators are fighting tooth-and-claw to keep their programs alive and give their students a chance to perform never fails to leave me inspired.


While the year gets off on another uncertain note regarding performance guidelines and the path forward, my colleagues and I want to support theatre makers in any way we can.


I work with a group of artists providing school and community theatre programs across the country with free and easy to use resources for their upcoming performances. We are On The Stage, and we provide a theatre empowerment program packed with ticketing, templated websites, automated marketing and social media tools, integrated streaming and VOD capabilities, and our latest fundraising suite. We’re looking to give back to the performing arts educators that gave us so much when we were students.


Addie believes in On The Stage’s mission and she was nice enough to invite me to write this message to you. If you’re interested in learning about how we can support you, I would love to talk to you and see if there’s anything we can do. Educators and schools should not have to pay out of pocket for necessary resources that keep their programs alive and On The Stage empowers educators across the country to keep giving students a place to perform.


If you’d like to get in touch and hear more about our set of theatre tools here’s a quick form so we can touch base.


https://landing.onthestage.com/en-us/va-its-thespians


All the best,


MJ Poyntz

On The Stage


How to Find out More...?

Check our social media accounts for EdTA, our parent organization or for VA Thespians for recent reminders and updates. Get more resources, learn more about International Thespian Society, and more! Read this "How To" short document for festival registration. The rest of this newsletter repeats from last month. It is here again for convenience and as a reminder. We do have an update on the VA mandates/protocols. Please read below.

Good news!

Fairfax County has included a performing arts mask-optional policy. Read the email release below. Feel free to share this with your communities so you can hopefully get the same soon!


"Hello-

Please see the updated guidance below for mask optional theatre performances effective immediately.

For those with upcoming shows, particularly this weekend, please feel free to move forward with planned masking and practices. This might be a consideration for student comfort and performance success given that many of our students are taking the stage for the first time in over 1.5 years and this might be a considerable adjustment for some students.

If you choose to move forward without masks, please work with your school principal on practices prior to implementation. This might include obtaining parent and student permission if choosing to perform without masks, inquiry and logging of vaccination or negative test status and audience notification.

Students should have the option to perform with masks without penalty regardless of vaccination status. All technical students, audience members and staff should be universally masked at all times. Student performers should be masked when not on stage.

More information to come but please review the below information carefully:

Updated Theatre and Choral Performance Guidelines for Middle and High School:

Fairfax County Public Schools continuously reviews our polices in response to changing Covid-19 health metrics. Given Fairfax County has moved into the moderate level of transmission, we plan to proceed with mask optional theatre and choral performances for the remainder of SY2021- 22. We believe this is the appropriate action given our current rate of community and school transmission. Additionally, athletic programs have been granted permission in close contact sports to “perform” indoors on a mask optional policy under the “exercise” exemption. Similarly, theatre performances incorporate activities that require exercise and physical exertion, often including dance which VDOE Fine Arts guidance now permits students to remove while dancing (exercising). Therefore, effective immediately, FCPS will allow mask optional choral and theatre performances in middle and high school to ensure our performing arts students have equitable access to meaningful and authentic extracurricular opportunities.

Below are the guidelines we will follow for implementation:

  • Students wear masks during all performing arts instruction, activities, rehearsals and technical activities prior to final (tech) rehearsals and performances.
  • Vaccinated students may perform without masks. If needed, a vaccination card collection system may be implemented.
  • Students who perform without masks shall continue to wear masks in all non-performing spaces during performance (backstage, technical areas, dressing rooms, hallways).
  • Students may choose to perform with masks regardless of vaccination status without penalty.
  • Student blocking, movement and placement shall follow state and district social district guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
  • Audience and crew members will remain universally masked and follow state and distinct social distance guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
  • State and district social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting guidelines would remain in place and enforced."


I will be meeting with the Virginia Department of Health Dec 2nd at 10 am virtually. If there are updates, mandates, other concerns you would like me to share, please email me: executivedirector@vathespian.org so I can share on behalf of you and the state.

REMINDER: Want a headache-free way to sign up for conference?

Three fairly simple steps! As the troupe director, you are in charge of registering all students... But how? Well, start with the basic registration in these three steps:


1. Have students complete this form with their interest. Give a deadline that works for you and this way all of the information is in one place and hopefully it takes 30 min-1 hour to register everyone depending on your group size. *Note the form is a sample, make a copy of your own, add it to your drive to keep track of the data, and thank Neil Burch for this format!


2. Collect the appropriate amount of money from students. As suggested from veteran attendees, spend some class time, rehearsal time, or however you best communicate with students to explain conference and all its programming. Note what is paid separately like hotels, meals, auditions, Thespys, etc. (the form in step 1 above ,will include inquiry related to these add ons and the hyperlink here directs you back to the amounts for registration and the additional events).


3. Register everyone (at once) through your account. Then pay the invoice(s) through the funds you collected. Another note from veteran attendees: collect your money and put into a field trip (or other similar type) fund through your secretary or your boosters. Then write one check to cover it all or make one credit card payment to take care of all invoices. Pro tip: DO NOT submit your registration for an invoice until all of your registrants are finalized!! Looking to book your hotel now? Download the informational document below or check here, when you scroll to the bottom, on our website.


4. Can't come as a troupe due to mandates? Have your students complete this form if they want to attend as an individual and we will match them with a school to hangout with for the weekend. Email executivedirector@vathespian.org for questions or more information.


5. NEW-Book your hotel room before it is too late! There are a limited amount of blocks available for VTF.

Need information to share about Thespians or VTF?

Here is a Google Slides PPT about Thespians to encourage students to join.


Here is a Festival Guide for students or new troupe directors.