A 24 Hour Play Festival Fundraiser
by Jessica Harms, Educational Theatre Association
Submitted by Nathaniel Haywood
ITA Secondary School Theatre Division Representative
Working with a team against the clock, using all of your collective skills to make it across the finish line and present your work for eagerly awaiting spectators? No, we’re not talking about sports – we’re talking about theatre! A unique theatrical opportunity for theatre directors, theatre students, and audiences – the 24 Hour Play Festival.
As our pandemic-influenced, partially virtual school year progresses, high school theatre programs are continuing to feel the strain – in both budget and student participation. Many schools have switched from live theatre to recorded in-person performances or completely online Zoom shows, often with minimal to no ticket intake. As theatre educators continue to do everything they can to provide authentic and meaningful theatrical opportunities for their students, the reality is that many programs are struggling with the lack of income and the potential for less opportunities for their students. The 24 Hour Play Festival is a creative and quick way to address both issues.
This straightforward article lays out the planning and implementation of a 24 Hour Play Festival for use in a high school theatre program, with easily understood and adaptable steps that will allow you to tailor it to the needs of your students and program. It’s a high interest form of theatre that can also easily be adapted to present online to accommodate whatever COVID protocols are in place for your program, and can serve as a great fundraiser to help offset struggles due to this unusual year.