By: ; STO Talya Hammerman, Ridge Point High School, Troupe 7678; STO Gabriel Brock, Goose Creek Memorial High School, Troupe 8132
With the school year coming to an end, we wanted to leave this year’s juniors and seniors with a little bit of advice.
Tips for applying/preparing for college
Q: What if I’m not majoring in theatre?
A: People have this stigma about those who don’t do theatre as a major. I’m here to say, you don’t have to listen to them. Do what is best for you. For me, I knew that I had done so much in theatre already, I’m not saying I’m done learning, but I wanted to try something new and push myself in another area. With a minor, you are able to do that and still do theatre. I will Major in Graphic Design with a Minor in Theatre. This will allow me some time to still use theatre as a creative outlet while doing something else that I love as well.
~ Campbell Lemons, 2018-2020 Texas State Thespian Officer
Q: What advice do you have regarding auditioning for colleges and finding which program is right for you?
A: My best advice when auditioning for colleges is to know your type. Do not try to fit into another mold. Being yourself is the best thing to do! When it comes to finding what program is right for you I completely recommend doing your research. Campus visits, talking to some of their current students, talking to some of their current students, watching a show from the college. Anything to make sure you could grow and thrive in their environment. Also when you know you know. When I stepped onto my college campus I knew immediately that that was where I was going to spend the next 4 years. If you have that moment, listen to it!
~ Jackson Barnes, 2019-2020 Texas State Thespian Officer
Q: How stressful is the entire audition/application process?
A: I'd say make sure that you pick pieces that fit you well. Most of the college auditions that I went on asked me if I had any pieces that better reflected myself as a performer. I wish that my primary pieces had been in my age range since they're generally looking for someone who can do a piece that feels natural for them. It can take a lot of time to find a piece that you love and that also fits you, but once you find something it's completely worth it.
~ Elam Blackwell, 2017 Texas State Thespian Officer/ International Thespian Officer
Q: What is the hardest part of the audition/college application process?
A: For me the hardest part was knowing where to start! Because of the nature of what I wanted to study combined with the fact that I didn’t have a list of “dream schools” to reference, it felt very overwhelming to begin looking at schools when you know little to nothing about their actual reputation in your field. I found myself just kind of going in circles looking for programs until I had to sit and make myself pick some schools I liked to apply to.
~ Annie Bailey, 2019-2020 Texas State Thespian Officer
Life is hard and school doesn’t make it any easier. Take these tips to heart and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your classmates, directors, or graduated seniors. When the fall rolls around and you’re auditioning for schools, (acting, playwriting, technical theatre, or anything in between) just remember to be prepared and don’t forget to break a leg!
Seniors, don’t think that because this was an auditions blog we forgot about you. Several state schools still have application periods open until May 30th, May 31st, or June 1st. You still have a few weeks to get in that application for the upcoming fall and if you’ve already committed we have a blog coming up about what to bring with you in the fall (both theatre and non-theatre related). So stay tuned!
Your 2020 & 2021 Texas State Thespian Officers
By: STO Folarin Oyeleye, Foster High School, Troupe 7961
As the 2021 UIL Spring season comes to a close with an array of events wrapping up such as High School One Act Play, Theatrical Design, and Academic UIL, we wanted to show off the accomplishments of our fellow thespians. However, we also acknowledge the fact that they aren't just limited to theatre. With that being said, let's put on our dresses and ties as we walk into the world of Speech and Debate.
Speech and Debate are UIL event categories, and both have events that appeal to everyone. On the speech side we have events such as Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation, Duo and Duet, and Poetry/Prose. These events can all be seen as acting, and although they all seem similar they all have their own rules.
Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation are very similar in their formatting. For starters the speaker has 10 minutes (and a 30 second grace period) to perform. The structure for how the event works is the speaker providing a little snippet of their piece as a teaser then flowing into their intro. The intro is essentially a summary of the piece and any sort of relevance it has to today or the themes it tackles. Then, once the intro is done the participant pops back into the rest of their piece. This formula is how most events will work minus the time limit.
Duo and Duet are similar in that they're both team events but they differ in their approach. In Duo partners are not allowed to make physical and eye contact. However, in Duet you're free to do so. This allows for the building of healthy team dynamics as well as creative performances. And regarding the time limit it is also comprised of a 10 minute performance with a 30 second grace.
Poetry and Prose are both known as "binder events." What this means is that instead of having to fully memorize a piece, the speaker can have a binder with the piece inside. The main key is to have a healthy balance of memorization to where you can glance at the binder when needed, but not fully read it. These events are also only 7 minutes and can use up to four sources to make a coherent piece.
Moving onto the debate side we have events such as Congressional Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Extemporaneous Debate. The debaters work to prove that their claim for an argument is more valid than the opposing side's assertion.
Congressional Debate works to imitate the legislation of the United States. In this event debaters will create a series of bills and resolutions as they deliver speeches for and against a certain topic. Some examples of discussion topics are: the bill to update the clean air act, regulate e-cigarettes, and to lift the ban on crude oil exports.
Extemporaneous Debate is a head to head debate in which competitors discuss more than one topic. They are given 30 minutes of prep time, and are allowed to use evidence but not necessity due to the short time span to prepare.
Finally, we have Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Speakers compete in a one on one match with a topic provided by the association. The rounds last 45 minutes on average (which factors in time for cross examinations and rebuttals).
Now that you're aware of the breakdown of the events, and what speech and debate entails, let's get our fellow thespians perspective on the matter.
Q: What made you join Speech and Debate?
"My director made me complete for the first time for a grade, and I continued doing it because I didn't know I was allowed to stop. but now I enjoy it." -Hannah Bronsell , Foster HS, Troupe 7961
Q: Would you recommend Speech and Debate to other theatre students?
"Absolutely. I feel as though they go hand and hand. Speech and debate not only utilize the performance skills that you learn in theatre. But they also develop key reasoning and deductive skills that help you better develop your character and stage work, all the work that goes into creating a compelling character and show." - STO Gabriel Brock, Goose Creek Memorial HS, Troupe 8132
Speech and Debate has been an integral role in allowing our students to find new ways to express themselves. With some state competitions ending and starting we congratulate and wish everyone the best. And to everyone participating in NSDA this summer, break a leg!
Have a good one,
Your 2020 & 2021 Texas State Thespian Officers
By: STO Lia Graham, Texas High School, Troupe 2526
Goodbyes are never fun. Spring is always bittersweet for the STOs as it comes time to pass the torch onto the 2021 board, but the 2020 STOs have a few farewells. Some faces you will see for another year, but the rest take their place in the STO Hall of Fame. Here’s some words of advice from the 2020 Texas Thespians State Thespian Officers;
“The most valuable lesson I have learned is definitely how to advocate. Advocating for Theatre Education has made a lasting impact on my community and helped to inspire the students that feel their voices won’t make an impact. I’m going to miss the people, the STOs, and the adults, but I’m also going to miss working with and for Texas Thespians. This organization truly changes students’ lives and paves paths for them and their future.”
“I’ve learned that every new opportunity that comes up, take it. The most valuable skill I’ve learned is how to incorporate and compromise the ideas of everyone. I am going to miss all of the STO’s that are graduating because I never knew how close I could become to these people in such a short amount of time. I’m looking forward to making next year’s Thespians even better than this past year! (And this past year was pretty amazing)!”
“The most valuable skill I’ve gained is the ability to make effective, concise, and more aesthetically pleasing presentations, which is something I struggled a lot with before. I’m going to miss teaching about Advocacy and getting to talk for a full 45 minutes about it to people who are so willing to listen.”
“It is insane how much connecting with other thespians can increase your knowledge of both theatre and leadership as a whole. During COVID I realized how important it is for thespians to be around other thespians. Despite not seeing each other in person all that much, I still feel emotionally attached to every single STO, and I am incredibly thankful for every second I've experienced with this family. Being on a call and seeing everyone's incredible personalities and working with these amazing leaders has been something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
“I have effectively learned how to advocate for myself and the arts. You won’t always be the best at something, so it’s more important to operate as a team to fully succeed at your goals. I’m going to miss the relationships I built with the STOs. They are my family, and now I’m sad it’s all ending.”
“A lot that I did not realize before being an STO is it requires a great deal of organization, taking responsibility, and ownership. The most valuable skill I’ve learned is editing videos in a short period of time. What I'm going to miss the most is the zoom calls, meeting up, connecting, and making videos.”
“One of the most valuable skills I've learned through being an STO is turning things in on time. Working in such a large group with many tasks and goals, by turning things in on time, we are able to complete our tasks and goals more efficiently. Prior to being an STO, I was rather hesitant about communicating in large groups. However, I was able to overcome this and be better at talking in large groups.”
“This year is not what we expected it to be. When we heard that festival would be virtual and that we couldn’t meet for STO camp, we could have easily given up. We all know that would never happen though. Even through a global pandemic, we led, advocated, and reached out. I am so proud of the work all thespians across Texas have accomplished, and I can’t wait to see where this foundation takes them next.”
“The thing I will miss most is definitely getting to work with my fellow STOs. They are some of the greatest people I have ever met and I am going to miss them so much! I am looking forward to being able to continuously make Texas Thespians better than we found it. I can't wait to work with the 2021 board to continue to make Texas Thespians amazing!
“I’m going to miss the people on this board the most and the connections we’ve gotten to make virtually this year across the state. I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and using it to lead this new board to success. I’m looking forward to planning festival and leading a hopefully in person festival as an STO.”
“Being an STO has definitely made me appreciate every little thing that goes into setting up things like festival or leadership camps because I never knew how much time and effort it required. I’ve learned to appreciate everyone and everything that people offer and give up so they can help others. I’m very excited for next year because I’ll have more understanding of the expectations of events and processes the STOs undergo.”
“I think the most valuable lesson I’ve gained from being an STO is being able to fully appreciate teamwork. I’ve always worked on teams in the past, but it really wasn’t until I served on this board where I truly saw the importance and value of teamwork. I was never afraid to not have help, because everybody was so open, kind, and always willing to lend a helping hand.”
“Being an STO helped me improve on my team work skills and helped me learn to lean on people to become a better person and leader. When we were all chosen we didn’t know a pandemic was going to happen, so this taught us to have back up plans and also to adapt to overcome. Although I didn’t get to see them a lot in person, they have truly impacted my life with all their support and love. Each and everyone one of them has made me a better person and leader.”
“I’ve learned that not everything is going to go your way like you plan, so you have to embrace the change coming. You have to work hard even on the days you don’t want to continue persevering. I’ve definitely learned to be flexible and how to navigate through technology better, especially with COVID-19 throwing off a majority of our year, I think we all learned to adapt to changes very quickly.”
“Because of my time as an STO, I have learned many valuable things, but my experience working with a team to try and get things done is what I will most likely take with me for the rest of my life. Through being an STO I have learned a lot about time management and meeting deadlines.”
“We as a STO board had to work together even though we only met each other in person twice. My leadership skills are something that have grown. By being a STO, you have to be a leader and also be on the receiving end of leadership. I’ll miss the people. Getting to work with them is what made this experience worth it.”
“The most valuable lesson I've learned through being a State Thespian Officer is to trust the process. Things may look messy and disorganized at first, but trust your teammates. If you listen and work through the rough patches, the end product will turn out better than you imagined.”
Your 2020 Texas State Thespian Officers