Open Forum

  • 1.  Festival Competition Pieces

    Posted 09-22-2021 20:27
    I need some insight/advice.

    I have been directing for 20 years but have only had an actual ITS Troupe for three years.  The first year we went to festival we just were observers. The second we had groups participate in Thespys and they did well.  Last year was all virtual . . .  And now, this year I have a LOT of kids interested in going and participating in Thespys.  How do you most Troupes decide who gets to participate in events when there can only be two per event? Seniority? Talent? Preparedness? I seem to have kids wanting to partner up (for duets and scenes) based on friendships but not necessarily matched talent . . .and I have students wanting to do solos/monologues who maybe aren't the strongest in the Troupe . . .  How much is this normally a director's decision and how much do you all leave it up to the kids to work it out?

    Toni Thomas
    English Teacher, Theatre Director
    Ogemaw Heights High School

  • 2.  RE: Festival Competition Pieces

    Posted 09-23-2021 08:02
    We do not participate in Thespy's but do a similar state competition in NJ.  I also have more students than spots almost every year.  I start by having each actor indicate their interest by putting their name(s) down under all categories they would like to compete in.  Sometimes I am able to "spread the wealth" and allow everyone to compete in at least one category they signed up for.  If that's not an option, I will either have auditions for that category and/or use seniority to decide.

    Laura Russo
    Teacher/Director of Theatre Arts
    Chatham High School

  • 3.  RE: Festival Competition Pieces

    Posted 09-24-2021 07:57
    I don't usually have too many students entering Thespys - but I allow everyone to register for our state event in the category of their choice.  (For now, PA does not have limits for troupe registrations for Thespys).   Admittedly, some of them are not my "rock stars" - but because the Thespy process includes a chance for them to see the judges' feedback, it is a fantastic learning tool.

    I have had successful students (Marketing, especially) - but also Sound, Stage Mgmt, Costume Design... but not as many performers as tech.  A few of these students needed this experience to realize that despite having lead roles in our productions, they still had a lot to learn. ;-)  Most judges' remarks are constructive and can be motivating for students to push themselves more, take more lessons in voice/dance, etc. 

    I may be a bit biased to sing the praises of the Thespy program - I am the organizer of the PA Thespians Thespys. 

  • 4.  RE: Festival Competition Pieces

    Posted 09-23-2021 08:10
    Not sure how your district and state run things, but here we are limited to 8 entries per category for the troupe and only those who earn a superior rating are allowed to move on to state.  If our troupe has more than the allowed number, we hold an adjudication for all the entries using local "judges" that are a panel of high school alumni with competition experience and other troupe leaders in the area.  The top 8 scoring performances will represent our troupe at districts.

    You could also hold a "showcase" of sorts so even if the performances aren't selected for competition, they could still be performed for an audience (which is often what the students really want).  The nice part of doing this is that parents and family members can see the competition pieces too.  Our districts and state don't issue day passes, so our parents can't usually see the pieces in a performance setting.  They love coming to see these informal performances and it also give the students a chance to have a sort of dress rehearsal.

    Amy MacCord
    Musical Theatre Teacher
    Westwood Middle School

  • 5.  RE: Festival Competition Pieces

    Posted 09-24-2021 12:35
    Toni, I learned through hard experience to have students turn in their paperwork and money for our state Thespian Festival before I registered them for the IEs (now Thespys.)  I had some students who were enthusiastic but unrealistic about how much time they had to devote to preparation.  Occasionally, eager students had a foggy concept of how calendars work and already had something else they had to do on the festival weekend.

    CJ Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator