The International Thespian Society had the honor of attending the Illinois High School Theatre Fest at Illinois State University mid-January. Despite having to walk from building to building in the pouring rain, the group attended several events including performances, workshops, and panels. The six senior-student members didn’t have any trouble getting a good night’s rest in the local hotel. “The overnight stay was the part that made me most nervous about attending Theatre Fest!” says chaperone Miss Rodman, the English teacher and Performing Arts director at St. Edward.
The International Thespian Society is an international honors organization for students in theatre. In order to become a member, 100 hours of service work in theatre are required. Various unique scholarship opportunities are available for members. Miss Rodman was more than happy to supervise such a good group of students. “Luckily, the seniors that came along this year were the most responsible, considerate bunch I could have asked for.”
The Opening Ceremony began on a Thursday night, starring several high school performers, and two performers currently on Broadway. One of the workshops, for example, analyzed the text of Act 5, Scene 8 of Macbeth, demonstrating specific sword fighting moves from the words and then practicing that choreographed sword fight. Senior member Gwyn Schaeffer made the All-State Improv Team this year at the festival. Gwyn was selected after 3 rounds of auditions as one of just 30 students from the entire state of Illinois to rehearse and perform a special improvised comedy show on Friday evening.
What an amazing experience this was for this group of students; to get the feel for a college campus, and the opportunity to meet with some current ISU theatre students was a great opportunity. Being able to choose your own activities based on your own interests is the key to becoming an independent person and following your dreams, and how awesome is it that our students got the chance to take part in such a prestigious event. Even though each member of the Thespian Society will be graduating this year, we are looking forward to seeing all the new faces next year, and can’t wait to start planning for next year’s Theatre Festival field trip.