Theatre Students Found Inaugural International Thespian Society

Led by theatre teacher Craig Smith, 15 Upper School theatre students comprise Steward’s first ITS.

Troupe Members (pictured above): Matthew Frayser ’18, Nikki Leopold ’18, Alex Merhige ’18, Byron Minson ’18, Lewis Tiller ’18, Caroline Willhite ’18 (not pictured), Ethan Williams ’18, Corinne Brager ’19 (not pictured), Trace Coles ’19, Evelyn Dumeer ’19, Aayush Lalwaney ’19, Daniel Corcoran ’20, Kendall Shamus ’20, Mara Beck ’21, and Libey Eynan ’21

By: Evelyn Dumeer ’19

It’s the closing night of the fall show at Steward, Look Homeward, Angel, but cast members and families aren’t filing out for the cast party just yet. First, they will stay and witness the inaugural International Thespian Society induction ceremony as conducted by Steward theatre teachers Craig Smith, Susan Sanford, and Ryan Gallagher.

The International Thespian Society is a national honor society for high school and middle school theatre students. Students earn points that allow them to move up through the ITS ranking system by participating in shows in school and in the community, and they have the opportunity to attend festivals held annually at the district, state, and national levels.

Fifteen new members take the stage, receiving their troupe card and pin and signing the Membership List one by one. Though it is only the beginning of the year, Troupe 8516 has already made strides in its agenda. The first step in any society is electing officers; seniors Nikki Leopold and Ethan Williams, freshman Mara Beck, and junior Evelyn Dumeer fill the positions of president, vice president, secretary, and historian respectively.

Next on the agenda is creating, well, an agenda. Decisions about cabarets, staged readings, student-directed shows, and more are all put on the table; each member has something to say. The troupe works together well, listening to every idea and considering the pros and cons.

“Whenever someone in the group has an idea, we all come together to add anything to it until we’re all happy with the outcome,” Nikki said. “It really is a space where we all know our voices can be heard.”

With such a collaborative starting point, troupe organizer Mr. Smith certainly has big plans for the year ahead: “I hope that the ITS troupe will take ownership of productions in the BlackBox and generate lots of ideas for things that could happen in that theatre space,” he said. This is an idea that has been in the works for a few years and is part of the Fine Arts Strategic Plan, and we hope it will be realized this season with the support of ITS.

While only time will tell what all the Thespian Troupe will bring to Steward, we can be certain that a year of theatre-filled fun will be enjoyed by all involved.





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