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Thespian Society Earns New Award

ITS+Troupe+1967+smiles+at+the+State+Thespian+Festival.++
ITS Troupe 1967 smiles at the State Thespian Festival.

ITS Troupe 1967 smiles at the State Thespian Festival.

Photo provided by ITS Troupe 1967

Photo provided by ITS Troupe 1967

ITS Troupe 1967 smiles at the State Thespian Festival.

Mary Claire Reece, Reporter and Photographer

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Every theatre student dreams of being on stage with bright lights shining in their face while reciting lines from their theatre production. But along with performing, International Thespian Society (ITS) focuses on the technical aspects behind the scenes.

ITS Troupe 1967 prepared for months to attend the Arkansas Educational Theatre Association’s annual State Thespian Festival at Greene County Tech High School in Paragould on Feb. 8-10.

The festival consisted of workshops, scholarship interviews and competing in the Tech Challenge. Students in attendance included the ITS president Rachel Wilson, vice president Julie Cash, secretary Cordarius Whitaker, treasurer Edward Smith, Destini Blankenship, Kara Blankenship, Kendra Curry, N’Dezja Gardner, Erica Richardson, Autumn Scott and Tamryn Woolfork, led by Alex Smith, Troupe Director and MHS theatre teacher.

“The whole purpose of ITS is to give students a chance to be involved with quality theatre, then to connect education and theatre… the Tech Challenge is really fun, super cool and super theatre nerdy in a good way,” Smith said.

The Tech Challenge is an obstacle course of multiple different technical aspects of theatre, such as lighting, knot tying, moving props, folding a theatrical backdrop and a relay of the team members rolling up cables. The teams were scored on sportsmanship, as well as completion of the events. Although the two teams did not receive any ratings, the troupe was awarded a brand new award for sportsmanship and teamwork.

“I feel like the troupe really bonded and came together because, apparently, they started that award for us,” Wilson beamed. “They watched what we did before each event. Some members from one team would pray together before each event. They were willing to learn because we showed up not knowing how to fold backdrops properly. One of the directors took the time to teach us, and we were so thankful that he did. Then, they were shocked when we prepared the backdrop folding for the next group. No one has ever done that. So they really saw how we worked together as a team.”

Photo by Ciara Massey
ITS Troupe 1967 smiles with their newly created award.

In addition to the Tech Challenge, three students competed in individual competitions. Richardson and Wilson competed in the Musical Solo category while Cash competed in Solo Acting. Both Richardson and Wilson received excellent ratings.

“You have to put in a lot of work,” Wilson said. ¨You can not just show up, expecting to sing and be great. There are deadlines that you have to meet to get this stuff accomplished. Like to pick out your song, you have to pick it out in November. Then, you have to practice this song the entire time.”

ITS is an open club to anyone with an interest in theatre. The troupe wraps up the year with Thespian Society induction in April for new members.

“Once you are a thespian, you are a thespian for life,¨ Wilson stated. ¨No one can take that away from you.”

Throughout the year, the members of Troupe 1967 earn points by volunteering in local productions and dramas. One opportunity to earn points is participating in the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre. The production will be on Thursday, April 19 in the Marion Performing Arts Center. Be sure to come and support these talented students in the cast.  

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Thespian Society Earns New Award