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New two-track schedule boosts Festival capacity

January 30, 2014

Thespian Festival planners have unveiled a retooled performance and workshop schedule that will increase the attendance capacity of the event by more than 1,300 students and teachers.

Nancy Brown, director of educational programs for the Educational Theatre Association, said interest in the annual high school theatre showcase has pushed attendance to the limit and beyond. Under the existing schedule, attendance was limited to the capacity of the two main stage theatres on the University of Nebraska campus—just over 3,000 seats. “We’ve had to close registration at 3,031 and turn away some people who wanted to be there—last year, about sixty,” she said. “We don’t like to have to do that.”

The new schedule will feature more of everything—more main stage performances, more workshops on an expanded range of topics, more Chapter Select and Freestyle Theatre shows. The key difference: each Lied Center main stage show will be performed twice, and shows booked into the Festival’s second main stage in Kimball Hall will be scheduled for as many as three performances. There will be a total of thirteen main stage shows—nine in the Lied (including a special performance of Making Magic, Defying Gravity and the National Individual Events Showcase) and four in Kimball—and on the busiest days the performance schedule will run from 8:30 a.m. until midnight. An expanded slate of workshops and short plays in two smaller theatres will assure that Festival delegates will have lots of choices all day long.

Theoretically the Festival could accommodate up to 4,400 registered attendees under the new two-track schedule, but Brown said she’s not expecting that many any time soon. “We’re planning this year for about the same number we had in 2013,” she said. “But this gives us room to grow.”

Festival registration will open February 10.

Main stage shows confirmed for Thespian Festival 2014 so far include:
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Troupe 5273, Las Vegas Academy (Lied Center)

Smokey Joe’s Café, Troupe 3860, Jeffersonville (Indiana) High School (Lied Center)

Fiddler on the Roof, Troupe 1539, Edina (Minnesota) High School (Lied Center)

Three Sisters, Troupe 88486, Denver School of the Arts (Kimball Hall)

Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies, Troupe 69, Dubuque (Iowa) Senior High School (Kimball Hall)