Arkansas Festival 2014!!

By Matt Conover posted 01-27-2014 16:47

I had the pleasure of spending this past weekend in Conway, AR at the 2014 Arkansas State Thespian Festival!  What a great couple days at the University of Central Arkansas, with almost 1,000 attendees the energy was terrific the whole time!

With 29 presenters sharing more than 100 workshops on a great variety of topics, the students and adults who took part I know came away with more than they arrived with.  How great to have Brian Curl and Malia Drinkwitz be able to host their dance workshops on the full stage at the Reynolds Center -- an awesome environment for that great learning.  Neat experiences like Virtual Theatre with Dana Proulx-Willis and the terrific experiences kids had with former ITO John Stark teaching Art for Social Change!  The students were engaged and arrantly busy the whole time - as reports from the UCA staff were all positive ;)

A wide variety of IE's took place Thursday and Friday -- I had the chance to adjudicate Lighting Design and am always pleasantly surprised by the eagerness and sense of story some of the students bring to their work.

Our 2014 Region 3 ITO Maggie Little joined us and helped kick off the Festival at the Opening Ceremony with me as she celebrated the Arkansas Thespians for their great participation in TOTS-EAT!  Delivering the keynote, I encouraged the students to be the inspiration for others and to know that being in theatre is about taking risks -- smart ones -- and that they can be the future.

Congrats to Michelle Moss, Stephanie Schultze, JoAnne Elsken, Gail Burns, Marisa Arnold, Terry McGonigle, Jessica Fisher and the rest of the professionals leading the Arkansas Thespians -- and thanks for the arrangements and hospitality you shared with the visiting artists, Maggie and myself.  A big thanks to Rick Chudomelka for being our greeter, transporter and general all around host for the weekend!!

I look forward to my next visit to Arkansas!!