With March only a few days away, I encourage you to think
about how you will celebrate Theatre in our Schools month. Yes, in case you
didn’t know, March is officially Theatre in our Schools (TIOS) month, a program
implemented by AATE to support, promote, publicize, and honor the wide range of
theatrical work going on in our schools.
If you have never participated in any of the TIOS events,
then this year, I challenge you to experiment with at least one. Attend a TIOS mini-conference
in your area and take the opportunity to network with and learn from other
theatre professionals (12 are happening across the country this year!). Pick an
item listed on AATE’s 25 Ways to Celebrate Theatre in our Schools poster and
act on it. Participate in Play Daze on Facebook and help write a new play each
day for the entire month. And the easiest way for everyone to participate...the
annual Wear Your Show Shirt Day is March 9th. How many show shirts do you have in your closets and
drawers? Well, take this
opportunity to wear one from your collection with pride! Check out these
details and more on AATE’s Theatre in our Schools website (http://www.aate.com/tios).
As for me, I plan to celebrate TIOS by wearing my "Celebrate
Theatre in our Schools” button every day in March, by attending the Illinois
mini-conference organized by AATE and the Illinois Theatre Association on March
10th, and finally, by having my school’s annual 8th grade
play perform the weekend of March 15th. We used to perform towards
the end of the school year, but when the opportunity arose to change the
performance dates, I immediately suggested March thinking what a great way to
celebrate theatre in our schools by actually having theatre take place in my
school! With less than a month until we go up, the cast and crew are getting
excited to perform for their friends and families, and I’m excited to see the
whole show come together. This year’s group of 8th graders have
really stepped up and worked together in such a thoughtful and supportive way.
I know that when the curtain goes down on our final performance, they will have
made memories that will last a lifetime.
So how are you going to celebrate TIOS 2012? I look forward
to hearing your stories and ideas!
Betsy Driver Williams currently teaches drama to grades 1-8 at Oak Grove School in Green Oaks, Illinois. She has served terms as the Illinois State Representative for the AATE and as the Children’s Theatre Representative for the Illinois Theatre Association.While holding both positions, she helped develop the Theatre In Our Schools Month Conference model and successfully co-chaired the first and second TIOS conferences in Illinois.Betsy has presented her work at state and national conferences including AATE’s Annual Conferences, the Illinois High School Theatre Festival, the Arizona State University Language and Literacy Conference, and the Arizona Thespian Festival.Betsy holds a BS in Theatre from Northwestern University and an MFA in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University.She is currently the Director of Regional Programming for AATE.