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The Pioneer PlayMakers include, from left (front row) Larissa Lowenberg, Andy Li, Jonathon Carlson, Renee Taylor, Daniell Mayes, (second row) Maggie Idol, Evan Jones, Jenna Messer, drama teacher Zach Walker, Zach Moody, (back row) Nicole Fox, James Stanley, Sidney Ginn, Ali Maupin and Zachary Langdon. Photo submitted.



Originally published: 2013-10-30 14:20:59
Last modified: 2013-10-30 14:23:47

WHS to host regional play festival

Watauga High School will host the regional competition of the North Carolina Theatre Conference High School Play Festival on Nov. 8-9.


The NCTC High School Play Festival is an annual statewide high school theatre competition in which more than 100 schools produce 128 plays in eight regional competitions. In the competition at WHS, more than 300 actors, directors and technicians from 11 different high schools will perform one-act plays in the high school's Ross Auditorium.


This is the second year in a row that NCTC has selected Watauga High School as one of the regional sites for this competition.


The 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." 


Joining WHS this year as the new drama teacher is Zach Walker. Although he is new as a Pioneer, he has years of experience with NCTC. Miller will coordinate the hosting of the festival, and Walker has taken the helm directing the Playmakers.


"I am excited to be in this new space with Ms. Miller and to work with a very talented group of actors," Walker said. "Our play entry is very dramatic and challenging. I look forward to sharing it at the festival."


There will be a special preview performance of the Playmakers' entry, reckless, at 7 p.m. Monday in Ross Auditorium. Admission to the preview performance is $5, with all proceeds going to support the WHS Drama Department. Tickets for the preview performance can be purchased at the door.


Over the past 24 years, the WHS Playmakers have been awarded close to two dozen superior ratings from NCTC, and they have twice gone on to win state championships. The high school's drama department is one of the largest and most active in western North Carolina.


Walker praised the support of local businesses for the festival.


"I am overwhelmed by the massive support we've received from the community," he said. "Our parent volunteers are amazing, and we could not host the festival without their assistance. We are also extremely grateful for the generous sponsorship given by dozens of local businesses. It's so amazing to have this kind of support!"


Local businesses supporting the festival include Carroll Leather Goods, M Prints Screening & Embroidery, Boone Bagelry, WJ Office, Blue Ridge Community Theatre, Mellow Mushroom Pizza, The Incredible Toy Company, Harris Teeter, Stick Boy, Food Lion, Come Back Shack, Jimmy John's, Subway, Lowes Foods, Deer Valley, Mint Indian Restaurant, Chick-fil-A, Dos Amigos, Ingles, Burger King, Earth Fare, attorney Bruce Kaplan, State Farm representative Anthony Reese, and Back Yard Bakery.  Many other area businesses and individuals are also supporting this festival.


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 open to the public as a free event. It will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day in the Ross Auditorium with each day divided into 2 sessions, one from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a second from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.


"Watauga High School is pleased and proud to support the arts by having NCTC on 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."