The International Thespian Society at NHS
Nutley High School is filled with talented and determined teenagers who engage in theatre. The International Thespian Society is an honor society for students in high school who participate and are involved in the performing arts and stage production. To be eligible for induction, students must earn 10 total points, which is roughly the equivalent of 100 hours of careful and devoted work in theatre, in all different kinds of capacities. To gain points, there are different types of responsibilities you can complete, such as playing an important role in a play, taking an acting/improv class, taking part in community theatre, or even being a stage manager.
In May 2018, Mr. Michael Gurrieri, NHS English and theatre teacher, started the International Thespian Society at Nutley High School, in hopes to help students become recognized for their dedication and accomplishments. “Bringing it here (to NHS) would help give a lot of students who attend this opportunity,” he explains. Mr. Gurrieri was a part of the society, back when he was in high school, and eventually became president by his senior year. One of his main goals when starting the Thespian Society, was to make sure everyone felt included and accepted.
The Thespian Society has taken part in activities and shows in the past. They have attended the New Jersey Thespian Festival each year, and just this fall, the Thespians produced the fall black box show, The Night of the Living Dead, which was completely student-directed and managed. “It was our first actual production that the thespians directed and produced,” Mr. Gurrieri says. Each year in spring, approximately 15-20 students get inducted into the society. Being a thespian is not an easy task; It takes time and extreme dedication.
Julia Resnick, a junior attending NHS, is the 2019-2020 Thespian Honor Society President. She was inspired at 6 years old when her mother took her to see her first show at the Essex Youth Theatre. There, she decided that she wanted to do and see more. Since then, Julia has performed in several productions; Theatre has become a very important part of her life. Her job as president is to be a leader for the society and to be there for fellow thespians in case any questions come up. She organizes and runs any upcoming fundraisers or shows, along with the other officers. “Our society tries to get more people interested in theatre, ultimately, in a more inclusive way,” Julia says.
The International Thespian Society will continue at Nutley High School for years to come, inspiring students of all grades to participate in theatre and performing arts. It’s a good way for students to feel included and loved by their community, friends, and teachers. From managing stage lights, to having a minor role in a play, teens and young adults in high school are always accepted. They will continue to produce shows and activities, here at Nutley, for the overall betterment and well-being for students.