There’s plenty of Educational Theatre News this week – playwriting awards, murder mysteries, and acheivements to celebrate – take a look at these news items!
Madison Consolidated High School is under some pressure with its production of Holiday Inn. Adjudicators from the International Thespian Society are coming to evaluate whether the piece is mainstage-worthy. Break a leg, guys!
At Sentinel High School in Montana, the cast of 26 Pebbles, a play about the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, has been doing a lot of thinking about their production.
In Oklahoma, Shawnee Middle School has Emma: A Pop Musical on November 22 and 23. The director says “There’s a lot of hits from the 80s and 90s,” but looking at the show’s description and song list reveals more 60s influences. (Yes, Phil Collins covered The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” in the 80s, but female characters sing it in the show.)
The last time Everett High School did a musical was in 2015. (It was The Wizard of Oz.) Does that mean that seniors only get to do one musical in their high school theatre careers?
There’s an audience-participation (via voting, at least) murder mystery at Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School titled That’s the Spirit. The cast looks like they are very into it!
In Indiana, Crown Point High School presents But Why Bump Off Barnaby? The madcap murder mystery by Rick Abbott has a red herring trick up its sleeve: all the suspects have the letters “BAR” in their names, the very letters the victim drew in his own blood!
West Hancock High School in Iowa has Till Death Do Us Part, an interactive murder mystery.
The production of Three Murders and It’s Only Wednesday! at Virgin Valley High School in Nevada sounds like it was a utopian experience for the cast. “It brought people from different areas of life together that normally wouldn’t interact…We had the hard-core theatre kids, the jocks, the drill team and the nerds. We ended up having a great time and becoming friends.”
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
In Wales, a touring event called the GWLAD includes a show titled Our Senedd, which tells the story of the National Assembly for Wales. The Mewn Cymeriad theatre company presents the play across Wales.
MED Theatre (formerly the Manaton and East Dartmoor Theatre), bases its productions on regional culture, using historical, folkloric, and even environmental inspirations. But their works address contemporary problems with intergenerational casts. The fascinating article is by Tim Hall, writing for the Moorlander in Dartmoor,Devonshire, England.
Students at Carver High School in North Carolina devised a theatre piece based on the 1965-1970 United Farmworkers of America strike led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. The production involved school and community members acting as members of the NAACP and Black Panthers marching in solidarity.
Ava Weidensall, a freshman at Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh, had her one-act play produced as part of the City Theatre’s EQT (“equity”) Young Playwrights Festival.
Elisa Marra, a 16-year-old playwright at Walled Lake Northern High School in Michigan, deserves the profile she got in the Royal Oak Tribune. She’s producing her fourth piece, and her Frankie! The Musical had an industry read in New York. (She has a professional connection there, but IT’S STILL IMPRESSIVE.)
In Virginia, Harrison Stewart, Marion Senior High School student, was runner-up in the Barter Theatre Young Playwrights Festival. Five of his classmates were runners-up; there were over 500 ten-minute plays submitted to the contest. .
THESPIANS OF ALL AGES
Playbill.com reports that the Educational Theatre Foundation raised over $180,000 at their Thespians Go Hollywood benefit on November 18. They have video that includes Rachel Bloom, Cheyenne Jackson, Matthew Morrison, and Jennifer Kumiyama, (have a handkerchief handy for her speech)!
In Philadelphia, The Arden Theatre Company is hosting a college and career fair specifically for students interested in the theatre arts on November 23.
Watauga High School Playmakers advance to State Conference. The MountainTimes.com has a comparatively long article on the troupe – thank you Kayla Lasure– which lists all the awards WHS won at their regional festival. North Carolina Thespians have to compete in regional festivals before they get the chance to take a production to the State Conference. Their competition setup looks similar to Florida’s, which I wrote about in a previous News Roundup.
Julian Keller-Heikkila, the Brainerd Dispatch’s Fine Arts Student of the Week, is exceedingly modest. Asked if he had any experience building things, he says, “No, not really.” Except for the TREEHOUSE he built ON HIS OWN in JUST A MONTH that’s 20 feet ABOVE THE GROUND, that is!
Wincester Cooperative Theatre, in Massachusetts, is celebrating its 40th year of productions. Wicked Local Wincester has a profile of Cathy Alexander, its founder, in which she tells the story of WCT.