As you know, there’s a TON to do at festival. There’s never a dull moment...
BUT sometimes it can get overwhelming when trying to figure out your schedule! So, if you're a little unsure of what you plan on using your time for, we’ve created a nifty guide of what’s hot this year:
Events are our cool little competitions we have at festival! We compete with everything from group musical numbers to individual stage management. Unfortunately, if you didn’t sign up before the 13th, I’m afraid it’s too late. But if you are signed up, GREAT! We wish you the best of luck!
Workshops are something that everyone can participate! These are cool little classes/demonstrations that you can participate in during the 60-90 minute time slots we provide for you! They can range from wild stage combat classes to a funky and fun learning of a popular musical theatre dance! They’re a blast, and there’s no need to sign up for them. Simply find the one you’re interested in in guidebook and attend at the right time! Guidebook is a nifty app we use for festival that will go live much closer to the actual event, read more about it below.
We have a variety of shows to enjoy at festival, such as play marathons, a mainstage musical, multiple mainstage plays. They’re hand picked to be presented to you, and that means that they are guaranteed to be a fantastic watch. See the titles here:
The talent show is a cool at festival event where anyone can sign up to perform for anyone who attends the talent show. We ask that you have something prepared ahead of time, but you can’t sign up until you get to festival. More information below:
Something new we have this year is that we opened auditions for students to participate in a performance during closing ceremonies. They will be choreographed by 2 time EMMY nominee, Tony Smith, and they’ll get to perform with Mamie Parris, who’s starring in Broadway’s Cats! If you don’t audition before October 16th, you’re out of luck. But you can still enjoy the show! More info below:
You can also spend money at festival! Our vendors are fantastic and come through with anything from spike tape to Scripts! Everything for your theatre nerd dreams! Preview who they are here:
We’re trying something else new this year… Buttons! We have 4 different buttons for you: “Adventure Awaits,” “Texas Thespians,” “Dusty the Duck,” “STO.” You can buy the first three from our STO table (and lots of other neat stuff as always,) But the last one, the STO button, you can only earn by being a leader and having an STO witness it. But, we do want you guys to bring your own troupe buttons to pass around and spread good times with!
We can’t say much about this one but.. Check out the STO table ;)
Hey Texas Thespians!
My name is Elam Blackwell and I want to share just a little bit about how being a Thespian has completely changed my life.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking… “This is the most cliche opening he could have for this article” “Everyone says theatre has ‘changed their life’” “It's been like 2 paragraphs and he still hasn't said anything worthwhile.”
Well you would be correct. Theatre has changed many people’s lives for the better. But I want to tell you about an adventure theatre has taken me on, to our nation's capitol.
“Great. Now he’s trying to tie in the whole ‘adventure awaits’ theme.”
Back in June, I went with my troupe to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska (the most exciting town in the US). There I became an International Thespian Officer (or ITO), which basically means I get to travel around the country talking about how theatre is super amazing to a bunch of people! The first trip I went on was to Washington D.C. this past July, and oh what an adventure it was!
In D.C. I got to advocate for theatre on Capitol Hill! I was a part of a group that went around to talk to senators and representatives about passing a budget that gave more funding for the arts. It really was surreal to be able to walk into Ted Cruz’s office to talk about theatre! It was an amazing experience that I wish everyone could have.
But I could have never done anything like that if it wasn’t for getting involved in theatre. In that way theatre has expanded my world farther than I could have ever imagined. So my message to you would be this: Don’t be afraid to take risks. Because risks are the best way to begin an adventure!
And now for some shameless self-promotion:
Follow me on twitter: @ITOElamB
and follow the International Thespian Officers on:
Facebook: International Thespian Officers
Also follow the Texas Thespians on all social media!
Twitters: @texas_sto @texas_thespians
If you’re here, on this beautiful website, taking time to read this article, my guess is that you already know WHAT high school theatre is. The rushing around in the wings, the smell of hairspray in clouds, the bright lights and loud clapping of friends and families. You’re probably involved in some way, or want to be at least. Which is fantastic. But the big question that not only are we asking, but that school districts everywhere are asking, is WHY do we do high school theatre?
Now, I could give you the obvious answers. You know that surface level stuff. Trust me, you’ve heard them before, it’s filler answers like ‘it’s fun, entertainment value, etc. etc.’ but those reasons are not the cause of so many changed lives. A high schooler doesn’t blossom into a leader simply because they had a “good time”. It’s something more. It’s gotta be something that is recurring because we’ve had theatre since 532 B.C.E. This growing community of artists is not a trend. It’s an established way of life. And I’m pretty confident in saying it’s because of three things:
If you’re not in high school right now, you’ve been there. We all have. It’s a required rite of passage to adulthood, but boy, what a rough one it is. Approximately 20% of teenagers will experience depression before adulthood. That’s a serious number of children affected, and while theatre can’t cure depression in any way, shape, or form, an important part of every teenager’s development is their self-esteem. Self-esteem that normally takes a dark turn in high school, a time when everyone is comparing themselves to everybody else. Now wait, you might be thinking, Theatre is all about comparing yourself to other people. That’s the point, right? Auditioning and competing for roles and positions of power backstage, how on this green earth is that supposed to HELP with our esteem? It helps because it’s not a fight to the death, it’s a competition with support, that, at the end, finds a place for everyone to contribute. And it’s that contribution that you fought to give, that is appreciated by a house of people clapping for you, and a community that has been built around you, that lifts up each and every individual.
This is a big world. This world has so many people in it. People have so many different ways of life, beliefs, and cultures. The beautiful thing about theatre is that it produces not just shows, it creates a story. And more often than not it’s based on the history around us. Students participating in any show are learning about the world and people around them by actually becoming a part of whatever story they are portraying. Theatre is important, “because it shows you how to interact with and be a more cultured individual.” (Rachel Meltzer, S.T.O.) Rachel puts it perfectly. Because not only are you becoming a more cultured person, you’re learning to communicate and coordinate with everyone around you by respecting where they’ve come from, which is super important when venturing out into the real world after high school, whether it be in theatre or not. And technicians as well receive a huge wealth of knowledge from all the work they do and the skills they learn to prepare them wherever they go.
Nothing connects you closer to the humans around you than to study and portray them on stage. Actors have to delve into the roots of emotion and accurately show the wide variety of personalities and situations in our world. We all know the phrase ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,’ but that becomes quite literal when you put on a costume for a character. Hearing about a tragedy and actually having to research and be a part of the tragedy are two completely different things, and they both evoke two completely different reactions. Kids in theatre feel more deeply for those around them because they are forced to feel all sorts of emotions for their respective shows. Theatre, “teaches empathy to those that need it the most.” (Elam Blackwell, STO and ITO) Empathy is so important in all aspects of life. It builds deeper relationships and helps you connect in situations like job interviews, helping those in need, and one day having a family. (Whatever kind it may be!)
Theatre is the pinnacle of so many kid’s lives, not only because it’s fun, but because it’s build character, not just the ones you see on stage. The way that this community builds teenagers up brings people together in way that makes them stronger than ever before. It creates a need to work, to share, and to be a part of the world. It’s passion, pure and simple, and our education system needs it.