Submitted by Angie Bin
“There will be Drama” was the theme of this year’s International Thespian Festival and the phrase proved true for 25 Fort Scott High School Thespian troupe members who were lucky enough to attend this year’s festival for free.
FSHS Thespian troupe #7365 was selected by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) as a 2017 Send a Troupe to Festival Grant winner. The festival at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, June 19-24, was $740 per student which included rooming and meals each day and admittance to all the shows, workshops and late night activities.
FSHS Junior Ally Heenan said, “It was an amazing opportunity to experience and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to go. I made many friends and I feel it brought our troupe closer together as a family.”
Having never attended festival before, FSHS qualified for the grant by completing an in-depth application and providing an administrative recommendation letter from Superintendent Bob Beckham. As grant recipients, the FSHS troupe was recognized in front of more than 4,000 students and troupe directors on the main stage during the festival.
According to EdTA, the festival is a celebration of student achievement in the performing arts and a one-of-a-kind, weeklong immersion experience in singing, dancing, acting, designing, directing, creating, writing and memory-making. Festival featured workshops presented by theatre professionals, individual and group performances, programs for technical theatre students, and opportunities to audition for college admission and scholarships. Some students travelled from as far away as China and Dubai to attend this year.
“It made me have more of a passion for theatre,” said FSHS sophomore Carlee Studyvin. “Meeting people from all over the U.S. was something that I will never forget.”
FSHS Junior Mary Gladbach added, “It was so exciting to be surrounded by people who I could share my love of theatre with, we were all complete strangers, but we still felt connected because of our shared passion.”
Theatrical make-up design, specialized choreography, playwriting and improvisational acting were some of the most popular types of workshops among the Fort Scott troupe. FSHS Thespian President Hunter Adamson, junior, also benefitted from a special class on Leadership that she attended each day. Many students attended panel discussions over productions they saw and even met the musicals’ composers.
FSHS Thespian Director Angie Bin, FSHS English teacher Mark Bergmann, and parent chaperone Mindy Bartlett also attended the festival.