Josh Radnor and a crew of Broadway cast members are getting ready to advocate for a Theatre in Our Schools campaign. As students and teachers across the country prepare to stage activities in the month of March, some of Broadway’s brightest are lending their support. The Theatre in Our Schools Month (TIOS) campaign is a grassroots effort to draw attention to the benefits of having theatre in the schools, as well as the need for more access to quality programs for all students.
“Josh Radnor, who stars as a high school theatre teacher on the upcoming drama series RISE premiering March 13 on NBC, speaks out in support of the campaign. In it he says, “Training our muscles in compassion and empathy…is the eternal gift of the theatre.” The inspiration for RISE is a high school theatre teacher who had a major impact on his school and community over his 40-year career. Radnor is an alum of Thespian troupe 2512 at Bexley High School near Columbus in Ohio. He became widely known through his work in the television show How I Met Your Mother. He has also appeared on Broadway and in film. The videos will be distributed via social media during March with the hashtag #TIOS18.”
The TIOS campaign will also feature video testimonials from actors Telly Leung and Lauryn Ciardullo who are currently in Aladdin on Broadway, and Jelani Remi and Chondra Profit, who are currently in The Lion King on Broadway. The TIOS campaign is jointly led by the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE), the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), and the International Thespian Society (ITS). Disney Theatrical Productions is a sponsor of Theatre in Our Schools Month.
According to a 2016 poll “Americans Speak Out about the Arts: An In-Depth Look at Perceptions and Attitudes about the Arts in America,” conducted by Americans for the Arts:
- 9 in 10 American adults agree that the arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.
- 90 percent believe students should receive an education in the arts in elementary school, middle school, and high school.
Many studies, including one conducted by The College Board, have shown that the arts exposure leads to greater success on standardized exams. In fact, students who took a four-years of arts-related courses in school scored an average of 92 points higher on their SATs than students who received a half-year or less of arts instruction. The unfortunate reality, however, warns EdTA Executive Director, Julie Cohen Theobald, “there is a troubling gap in opportunities for access. According to the U. S. Department of Education, only 28 percent of public high schools in high poverty areas offer theatre instruction and according to the National Endowment for the Arts Office of Research and Analysis, African-American and Hispanic students had less than half the access to the arts as white students. That is why,” she adds, “raising awareness and support is so important.”
For more information about TIOS visit schooltheatre.org and follow #TIOS18 and #TheatreinOurSchools on social media.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.