WHS Hosts N.C. Theatre Conference High School Play Festival, You’re Invited

Published Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 10:39 am

Watauga High School will host the regional competition of the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) High School Play Festival on November 6 – 7, and you’re invited to help.

The NCTC High School Play Festival is an annual statewide high school theatre competition in which over 100 schools produce 128 plays in eight regional competitions.  For the competition at WHS, the school will welcome more than 300 actors, directors and technicians from 11 different high schools as they perform one-act plays in the high school’s Ross Auditorium. This is the third year that NCTC has selected Watauga High School as one of the regional sites for this competition.

The High School Play Festival runs at a crisp pace that keeps everyone on the move.  Each set of performers has exactly 45 minutes to set up their play, perform it, and clear the stage of all sets, people, and materials. Shows take place approximately every 75 minutes, with about 30 minutes between productions for judges, who are regional theatre professionals, to give the performers verbal critiques.  At the end of the festival, multiple awards are given out in such categories as Best Actor, Best Ensemble, and a variety of technical awards.

“WHS students and faculty are excited to have the opportunity to serve NCTC again,” said WHS drama teacher Sarah Miller.   “The WHS Playmakers have participated in the festival since 1988, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to give back to NCTC by hosting this regional competition for the third time.”

Over the past 28 years, the WHS Playmakers have been awarded more than two dozen Superior Ratings from NCTC, and they have twice gone on to win State Championships.  Last fall, they placed third at the state championships.  The WHS drama department is one of the largest and most active in western NC.

WHS students will help run 16 one-act plays over the course of the two day festival with help from the Tech Theatre class, WHS students,  parents, community volunteers, WHS Theatre Department alumni, and WCS staff.  The entire festival is free and will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day in the Ross Auditorium.  Both days are divided into 2 sessions, one from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. and a second from 1 – 7 p.m.

“Watauga High School is pleased and proud to support the arts by welcoming NCTC to our campus,” said Principal Marshall Gasperson. “We hope to have a large turnout from the community to support these young people and all their hard work.”

Want to help host the NCTC High School Play Festival? The high school is seeking volunteers to help greet and direct visitors and to support students and directors backstage. Please contact Sarah Miller at WHS and let her know how you’d like to help. Volunteers will receive an “NCTC STAFF” tee shirt donated by local businesses in addition to the deep gratitude of everyone at the high school. “Any time that you can give to help this festival be a success will be extremely appreciated,” said Miller.

Miller pointed out that attending a preview performance of the Playmakers’ own production for NCTC is an additional way to support their work.  The preview performance will be Monday, October 26 at 7 p.m. in Ross Auditorium. Admission is $5, with proceeds going to the drama department.

This year the Playmakers are producing Richard Cory by A.R. Gurney. The play, based on the poem, “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, is made up of a series of vignettes that flow together to portray his life. With minimum props and set pieces, it reveals the life of a man who seems to have everything the world has to offer. He is handsome, rich, successful in his law practice, respected in the community and an idealized husband and father. And yet, as the play progresses through the various stages of his life, it is apparent that his position in life has also brought him growing dissatisfaction and unease. Ultimately, it shows Richard Cory struggling to balance his reputation, deal with his alienating friends and family, and make sense of the changing world.

“The Playmakers have been doing amazing acting and technical work on this piece these last two months,” said WHS drama teacher Zachary Miller. “This is a powerful and stunning drama that deals with the curse of fame, wealth, and lofty status, and the Playmakers are ready to bring its full impact to the stage.” While the play does not contain adult language, it may contain material not appropriate for all ages.

“The Playmakers would like to thank all the businesses and community members who are supporting us in this endeavor,” says Miller. The supporting businesses include Hospitality Room: Back Yard Bakery – Rebecca Kaenzig, Bandana’s Bar-B-Que & Grill, Chick-fil-A, Come Back Shack, Earth Fare, Galileo’s Restaurant, Harris Teeter, Hospitality Mints, Ingles, Lowes Foods, Mint Indian Cuisine, Panera Bread, Stick Boy Bread Company, Tar Heel Capital Corporation and Wendy’s and Walmart.

The Playmakers are also grateful to the following local businesses for sponsoring the NCTC Staff Tee Shirts: Boone Bagelry, Blue Ridge Community Theatre, Incredible Toy Company, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, m-prints Inc., Screenprinting and Embroidery, and WJ Office.  The Playmakers and WHS expressed appreciation for the financial support of NCTC by Casey & Casey Law Offices, PLLC, First Citizens Bank, LifeStore Banking and Insurance, and Wells Fargo, and for the printing services provided by Precision Printing, Inc. and Precision Signs.

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