NATIONWIDE: With Hurricane Florence battering the Carolina coast, the announcement of play publisher Samuel French’s new Natural Disaster Script Bank, in partnership with the Educational Theatre Association, could hardly be more timely. The Bank, which began its collection in September 2017, will donate scripts to schools whose libraries have been lost to natural disasters.
“The idea was incubated as we heard story after story of schools whose theatre departments were wiped out from Hurricane Harvey,” said Abbie Van Nostrand, Samuel French director of corporate communications in a statement. “Unfortunately we realized that this situation was bound to be repeated with other natural disasters. As the largest theatrical publishing company, it became our goal to design a program in which we could assist in restocking an affected school’s theatre library. We are so appreciative of EdTA jumping in as a willing partner.”
After last year’s various devastating disasters like Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Maria, and the California wildfires, Samuel French and EdTA received requests for scripts from schools whose libraries had been destroyed by these events. Samuel French responded to these inquiries by pledging that, for every script purchased at their 2017-18 EdTA Conference booth, they would donate a script to one of the affected high schools.
A year later, 3,665 scripts are now available for donation. And while many high schools that were affected by storms in recent years have since been rebuilt, similar disasters are likely to happen again (in fact are happening right now). The National Disaster Script Bank was created to address this issue and create a long-term solution for afflicted schools.
“When we looked at 2017 we recognized a long-term need and built infrastructure to better enable us to support schools and thespian troupes efficiently and effectively in the wake of a natural disaster,” said EdTA’s Chief Relationship Officer Hans Weichart in a statement. “Now, thanks to Samuel French, our resources include a source for scripts.”
The Educational Theatre Association is an international theatre organization working to honor student theatre achievement, support teachers, and garnering public support for theatre education.