Isabella Weiss

Roblero shows his incredible acting skills on the spot during a photo shoot.

Beyond practicing performance scripts, spending hours after school working on sets, and perfecting his acting skills on a daily basis, theatre sophomore Jason Roblero participates in an honor society called the International Thespian Society (ITS).

ITS is an organization that connects theatre students from different schools across the nation through a series of individual and team competitions, as well as a means of further exposure to the theatre community. The program provides young actors and actresses with online resources, feedback on performances, and recognition from various colleges and scholarships.

“ITS [offers] a lot of opportunities for people aspiring to be in a career with theatre or other tracks, such as set design,” Roblero said. “Competition is something [it] provide[s], but it’s not the thing that [it] encompass[es] entirely.”

ITS hosts an International Thespian Festival annually for students around the country to compete in a number of performances such as costume construction, duet acting, and musical theatre. At these competitions, performers are able to receive feedback on their acts and further improve their theatre skills. Students pick categories to compete in for the final showcase at the festival.

“I thought that [doing monologues] would be the most beneficial category for me,” Roblero said. “I need to work on myself as an individual so that I can apply those skills with group work; at the same time, I want to work on myself as an actor.”

Being a student at an arts school, Roblero strongly values advancement in his art skills. He dedicates the majority of his time to his art, and ITS is a resource for students like him to improve and gain attention from prestigious universities around the country, as well as to receive scholarships and further enhance one’s academic record.

“Regular theatre class is usually trying to teach you a skill,” Roblero said. “What ITS provides is a way to go more in depth about [acting].”

Theatre classes at Dreyfoos typically have their students explore many different aspects of theatre, from musical performance to painting and set design. In their freshman year, most theatre students take multiple classes to explore the different areas of theatre and figure out what works best for them. By sophomore year, students find what interests them and are able to start pursuing particular aspects of theatre.

 “In class, we touch on something for a brief moment and then move on to something else,” Roblero said. “[Theatre students] want to broaden [their] skills and make sure [they] get through everything.”

It doesn’t really matter if you know how to [act] or not… It’s where you can refine yourself in your art form.”

— Jason Roblero

However, this fast-paced crash course of classes isn’t enough for some students, like Roblero, who want to get better at the areas of theatre that they most enjoy. This is where ITS comes in. ITS allows kids to choose a specific area in theatre that they’ve explored at school and practice perfecting their skills in that zone. Inversely, ITS allows students to do better in their theatre classes at school.

“If I can learn something new at ITS, I can apply it here [at Dreyfoos],” Roblero said.

Roblero’s desire to be in ITS was to further improve his performance in the theatre department as a whole. He uses the honor society’s online resources like access to scripts and drama publications, as well as its in-person workshops and competitions, to improve in his theatre performance here at Dreyfoos.

“I wanted to show the theatre department that I’m more involved, [and] that I want to contribute something,” Roblero said.

Many students use ITS as a way to feel more comfortable with performing as well as to get professional feedback from international judges. This helps young actors and actresses apply what they learn in the annual competitions to their performances in class and school performances. Roblero, like other participants, uses ITS as a way to enhance his skills in class and personally improve.

“It doesn’t really matter if you know how to [act] or not. Their job is mostly to aid you in trying to be better at something you really love to do,” Roblero said. “It’s where you can refine yourself in your art form.”