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Eight Schools Invited to Perform on Main Stage at International Thespian Festival

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival

Eight schools have been honored with an invitation to perform on the main stage at the International Thespian Festival (ITF), the nation’s leading high school theatre festival, which is produced by the Educational Theatre Association. The invitations are based on productions that were adjudicated last fall; three more schools will be invited this spring. (Complete list of schools and shows to-date follows.)

ITF celebrates student achievement in the performing arts. The 55th event, which this year takes place June 25-30 at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, brings together more than 4,000 high school drama students and their teachers for a weeklong immersion in workshops;  interaction with colleges, industry leaders, and Broadway professionals; and opportunities to be inspired by the best high school theatre in the nation.

The highly coveted invitation signals achievement of superior work in theatre according to EdTA’s Director of Educational Programs Nancy Brown. “It is a real honor,” she explains, “because we send screening teams out all across the U.S. and Canada during the school year and only 11 schools will be selected to present their shows on the main stage.  These Thespian troupes have earned a slot among those honored few.”

Additional schools will be honored with invitations to perform on other stages, such as the Chapter Select Showcase during the week.

“A main stage performance at ITF also can be a real boost for the play itself,” adds EdTA’s Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald. For example, Almost Maine took off after it was performed on the main stage at ITF. In fact, according to EdTA’s annual Play Survey, for the last two years it has been the most-produced high school show in America.

One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean
Director: Jeremy Riggs 
Blue Valley North High School, Troupe 4151 
Overland Park, Kansas 

Disney’s Newsies by Harvey Fierstein, Alan Menken, and Jack Feldman

Director: Robbie Steiner 
Floyd Central High School, Troupe 1794 
Floyds Knobs, Indiana 

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin
Director: Shawn Hann 
Denver School of the Arts, Troupe 5869 
Denver, Colorado 

The Visit by Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Maurice Valency
Troupe Director: Tony Matthes; Show Director: John Riedlinger 
Edina High School, Troupe 1539 
Edina, Minnesota


Trap by Stephen Gregg
Director: David Hastings 
Olathe South High School, Troupe 5006 
Olathe, Kansas 

Bright Star by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Director: Tara Whitman 
West Orange High School, Troupe 1983 
Winter Garden, Florida 

Urinetown by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann
Director: Greg Shaw 
Pittsburg High School, Troupe 3149 
Pittsburg, Kansas 

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson
Director: Kristi Jacobs-Stanley 
Mt. Carmel Academy, Troupe 2075 
New Orleans, Louisiana


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