The Helena High School Thespians International Troupe #745 is a member of the International Thespian Society (ITS) which is the Educational Theatre Association’s student honorary organization. ITS recognizes the achievements of high school and middle school theatre students. Helena High thespians can earn awards including full membership, letters and honors as members. Since 1929, EdTA has inducted more than 2 million Thespians into ITS. That number continues to grow, with more than 36,000 students from around the country being inducted each year.
What is the origin of thespian? It is named after Thespis of Icaria, the “Father of Greek Tragedy”. He was a poet who lived during the 6th century B.C. According to ancient tradition, Thespis was the first actor in Greek drama. He was often called the inventor of tragedy, and his name was recorded as the first to stage a tragedy at the Great (or City) Dionysia (c. 534 bc). According to the Greek rhetorician Themistius (4th century ad), Aristotle said that tragedy was entirely choral until Thespis introduced the prologue and the internal speeches. Thespis was the first to interweave choral song with an actor’s speeches, and tragic dialogue began when the actor (Thespis) exchanged words with the leader of the chorus (choragus).
A few of Thespian alumni are famous names from the entertainment industry, including Tom Hanks, Val Kilmer, James Marsters, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Stephen Schwartz. But most alumni are in just about any industry you can imagine and excel using skills they learned as Thespians.