The Institute of Outdoor Drama was founded in 1963 as an organization dedicated to serving the American historical outdoor drama movement. In the ensuing years, its scope expanded and grew internationally to include Shakespeare festivals, religious plays, musicals and all other types of plays always with the shared characteristic of outdoor performance. To reflect this growth, the organization changed its name in 2014 to the Institute of Outdoor Theatre (IOT). We are based in the College of Fine Arts and Communication at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Our scope includes a wide variety of international professional and community theatre organizations. These organizations are united by their dedication to producing outstanding theatre and their unique roles in providing exceptional entertainment and tourism attractions for their regions.
The services provided by the Institute to its members include:
- The annual national outdoor theatre conference
- The Mentor Consultation Program providing free consulting services to our members (see details at Mentors)
- Unified Auditions for theatre companies
- Individual member profile pages on the Institute’s web site, with links to the members’ own web sites and listing in the online membership directory
- Research and publications on matters of interest to the membership, including attendance statistics, audience surveys, theatre design, economic impact studies, technological developments, cultural tourism and marketing trends
- Feasibility studies for new theatres provided by teams of professional consultants and ongoing development assistance for communities wishing to establish outdoor theatres
- Public information and promotions of the performances provided by our members
- Liaison with other national and international arts services and tourism organizations, government agencies and unions
- Assistance in executive search
- Awards programs for Lifetime Achievement and Volunteer of the Year
Regular membership in the IOT is open to theatrical companies who perform all or a significant portion of their work in outdoor settings. Regular dues are based on the annual budget of the organization. (Note: Theatres joining for the first time can receive a trial one year membership at no cost. Contact IOT Office for more information.)
Regular Members receive all publications, voting rights (one per organization), member rates at the National Conference and Auditions, and listing in all printed and virtual publications. The Mentor Consultation Program is available to all members (See Mentors)
Each regular member has one voting representative, but other staff members can be designated as “Affiliate Members” at no additional cost. Affiliates receive all IOT communications, can access the ‘Member’s Only’ portion of the website, and are eligible to attend any IOT function at the member rate.
Organizations planning to begin a new outdoor theatre can attend Institute events and receive all publications for a “Planning Membership” of $125.00 per year.
Companies providing equipment and services to the theatre industry may become Business Members of the IOT, receiving all member benefits as well as attending the annual conference. Annual dues for Business Members are $275.
Private individuals wishing to participate in the activities of the Institute pay annual dues of $125.00
The membership year coincides with the calendar year, but dues paid in the last quarter of the year entitle organizations to the next full membership year. Memberships lapse if dues are not received by March 31st.