Submitted by Angie Bin
The Fort Scott High School Thespian Troupe #7365 gleaned several honors from the annual KS State Thespian Festival January 4-6, at the Century II Center in Wichita.
Twenty-six students attended with Thespian Director Angie Bin and sponsor Mark Bergmann. In addition, six Fort Scott Middle School Drama Club members attended on January 6, with sponsor Mary Jo Harper.
The troupe earned the highest honor awarded to Thespians in Kansas, the Gold Honor Troupe Award. To achieve this, troupe Historian Karina Kantilal, a junior, presented a notebook documenting the group’s productions, community involvement, and activities. The FSHS troupe also received a plaque for its 10-year anniversary as a troupe.
State Board Representatives senior Xavier Watkins and junior Hunter Adamson helped organize and lead the festival. Adamson received the honor of being elected by KS Thespian Directors to serve as one of five State Board Officers for the coming year.
“Getting the opportunity to hold the position of State Thespian Officer is such an honor,” Adamson said. “In the year to come, I hope to advocate for the importance of theatre for young people and bring about an awareness of the strength of the theatre department.”
As part of Adamson’s duties, she will attend leadership classes at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Neb., in June and meet with the other officers throughout the year. She will then lead all state board representatives from Kansas schools to plan next year’s festival and will be in charge of the 2019 Festival.
Over the three-day festival, students also attended workshops and classes covering all aspects of theatre including acting, dance, technical theatre, theatre advocacy, stage combat and other related topics. Bin taught a workshop entitled “Let’s Play! Growing Theatre Kids,” using her research on children’s theatre to teach other schools how to cultivate a love for theatre among younger children in their communities.
Junior Darrick Green said, “I attended the Musical Theatre Stars dance workshop. It really showed me how profound these Broadway stars really are, how hard they have to work, how difficult choreography is and how much effort actually has to be released to achieve greatness.”
Students also watched productions of the top musicals and plays in the state, chosen to perform at the festival.
Junior Alyx Brooks remarked, “As usual, all of the workshops and plays were wonderful, however, one of my favorite workshops was a lighting workshop that helped me understand the different energies of lighting.”
Many students competed in individual events including sophomore Mesa Jones, junior Mary Gladbach, and senior Grant Coffman in Musical Solo; juniors Daniela Belcuore and Brooklyn Lyons in Musical Duet; and Brooks and Adamson in Duet Acting. The entire troupe competed in late night events including Improvised Acting, Speed Charades, and Creative Costuming.
The FSHS troupe plans to attend the International Thespian Festival at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, June 25-30. Members are working throughout the year to earn the approximately $750 registration fee to attend.