Thespian Troupe Attends State Festival

Thespian Troupe Attends State Festival
Posted on 02/27/2020
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Our HSSD Thespian Troupe broadened horizons with an extended field trip to include attending an award-winning musical “Once on this Island” at the Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville), and then the Arkansas State Thespian Festival at Arkansas State University (Jonesboro). The group brought back experiences and made connections that will help them get into (and hopefully qualify for scholarships toward) theatre programs at colleges and universities across the region, and inspire new ideas for productions they will undertake right here in Hot Springs (like their upcoming short play “Alice” on March 13 and March 15). “I want them to take away that theatre and art programs touch people from all walks of life,” says Hot Springs World Class High School Theatre Teacher and Thespian Troupe Leader Mrs. Potts.

The “Once Upon this Island” production was an important experience for students not only because it’s a nationally-recognized musical, but also for the creativity and ingenuity used in building the set and costumes. HSSD students were invited to sit on stage during the live show to see the costumes and production sets created entirely from recycled and repurposed material. Mrs. Potts explains how materials that no one would consider can easily be reused for set items because the audience is too far away to see details - items like zip ties, aluminum cans, and newspapers. Students also learned that all costumes in the show were created from items purchased at local thrift and consignment stores.

The group traveled from Fayetteville to Jonesboro following the production to attend and compete in the Arkansas State Thespian Festival at the Arkansas State University campus. HSSD students joined over 1,500 others from across the state for workshops and competitions based on topics related to the planning, preparation, and participation in theatrical productions and plays of all kinds. They attended workshops about stage lighting and sound, puppets and puppetry, costume design, makeup, warm up activities and games for theatre classrooms, outreach andideas for building hype for productions in the community, and more.

The Thespian Festival includes workshops and theatrical competitions. Our Cameron Dickerson competed before over a dozen colleges and used a monologue from his lead role in the Christmas musical production of “Elf,” and he also performed a Shakespearean monologue. (Cameron has been accepted into the Theatre Arts Program at Henderson State University). Our Thespian Troupe as a team also submitted a short film in the Short Film Competition.

Mrs. Potts points out that being part of the Thespian Troupe and qualifying to attend the Thespian Festival is based on grade point (members must have a GPA of over 3.0 to attend and compete) and on community service hours in the Hot Springs area and the HSSD. The Thespian Festival “lets our kids make connections, gain exposure and familiarity, and bring home ideas for our own Garland County productions and projects,” says Mrs. Potts.

The memorable trip was paid for in part by grant funds (including one grant from the Hot Springs Public Schools Education Foundation), funds raised by Thespian Troupe students during various community outreach events including face painting at the Garland County Fair, and district funds. 

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