Catawba College to host high school play festival

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2017

Catawba College News Service

SALISBURY — Catawba College will be among eight regional sites in the state to host a North Carolina Theatre Conference High School Play Festival. It will be the first time in more than a decade that Catawba has hosted the festival.

Two plays from each of the regional festivals will advance to the N.C. Theatre Conference State High School Play Festival on Nov. 16-17 at Greensboro College. The top two plays at the state festival will advance to the Southeastern Theatre Conference in March.

Catawba and three other venues in the state will host regional festivals on Oct. 27-28. Four other regional festivals are slated Nov. 3-4.

“We are thrilled to be able to host this amazing festival,” said theater arts department Chairwoman Beth Homan. “So many of our current theater arts students benefitted from this formative opportunity when they were in high school, regionally. They are all looking forward to giving back to NCTC, an organization that gave them so much in the earliest part of their development as artists.

“As a program, we recognize the tremendous value of young people sharing in the artistic experience in a supportive, festival atmosphere. We are also excited about the opportunity to connect with our regional theater teachers who work so hard to advocate for arts in education. These are fearless souls — often one-person operations — who recognize the tremendous pedagogical value in immersing their students in arts experiences like this. We look forward to making Catawba their arts home for the weekend.”

High schools registered to participate in the regional festival at Catawba include Central Academy of Technology & Arts in Monroe; Concord First Assembly Academy in Concord; Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw; Glenn High School in Kernersville; Mooresville High School; North Iredell High School in Olin; Northwest Cabarrus High School in Concord; Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro; Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte; and William A. Hough High School in Cornelius.

The premise of the festival is that schools load in their set in a backstage area that is about 10 square feet before taking the stage to perform a play. Students have 45 minutes to tell their story and leave the stage clear. After their performance, students receive verbal and written feedback from industry experts.

When not performing, students watch performances from other schools, learn from their peers, and make new theater friends. At the end of the two-day festival, awards are presented.

Cumulatively, the N.C. Theatre Conference festival showcases the talent of more than 3,000 students from more than 100 schools in nearly 130 productions.

The program was named one of the top high school theater festivals by Stage Directions Magazine. It is the largest high school theater program in the Southeast and has been replicated in nine other states.

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