A new year for ITS


Nora Miller

At the 2018 NHETG Regional Drama Festival, HBHS’s ITS won the Outstanding Ensemble Award and received this certificate. They hope to attend the festival again in 2020.

Nora Miller , A&E Editor

The International Thespian Society (ITS) is a national honors organization, similar to the National Honors Society (NHS) or the Tri-M Music Honors Society, which is focused on excellence in theater. The group includes students involved in all areas of theater, from actors and choreographers to those involved in stage management or tech. Hollis-Brookline’s chapter of ITS has a big year ahead of them with a new advisor and the largest group of new inductees the chapter has ever seen.

ITS does differ in the way it tracks the achievement of its members from other honor societies students may be familiar with; instead of keeping track of hours, each student earns points based on the different jobs associated with a production that they participate in. To be eligible for induction, a student needs to have earned 10 of these points. Once inducted, a student continues to accumulate these points, which they are recognized for by the time they graduate.

In the past, induction rates for ITS have been fairly low- much lower than the 30 new members joining this year. Part of this has just been due to a lack of awareness that ITS was a group available to a lot of people. “What Maura [Shanley ‘20, Vice President of ITS] and I have worked hard on is spreading the word to our whole performing arts department about what ITS is and how it is not just something for the most elite actors in our school. It really is a place where everyone can come together,” said Nicole Plummer ‘19, President of ITS.

HB ITS will also be welcoming their new advisor, Matthew Portu, a Social Studies teacher at HBHS. “This was the first thing I’ve been asked to be an advisor for, which I was pretty excited about,” said Portu. “I pretty much exclusively teach freshmen right now, so it’s a good opportunity for me to get to know more people in the school.”

Both current and soon-to-be members of ITS are excited for the next year of festivals and activities. In the past, ITS has taken part in the New Hampshire Educational Theater Guild (NHETG) Regional Drama Festival. Unlike the shows performed at HBHS, which are often longer comedies with larger casts, the performances at the festival are centered around one-act dramas with a smaller cast that allows the actors to “explore deeper shows” according to Plummer. ITS was unable to attend this festival this year due to timing issues, but they do plan on attending next year.

This past October, they also visited Plymouth State University for the first time for the NHETG Theater Workshops. Each ITS member attending was able to visit different classes on a wide variety of topics about theater, from choreography to audition techniques. “[Plymouth State] was doing a production of Mary Poppins at the time, so one of the classes I took was one where they taught us the dances they were doing for that show. It was really fun,” said Johanna Golden ‘19, a member of ITS.

These opportunities are one of the reasons why ITS is such a helpful and exciting opportunity for students interested in theater, and perhaps why so many students are eager to join for the 2019-2020 school year.