KHS takes on the Missouri State Thespian Conference


Maggie Burton

Melanie Witt, copy editor

Over the weekend from Jan. 12-14, junior and senior members of KH Players had the opportunity to go to the Missouri State Thespian Conference in downtown St. Louis. The trip alternates between St. Louis and Kansas City every two years. Students left school after their first class on Thursday and took a bus to the Marriot Grand Hotel, where the conference was held, for two nights.

“[Theatre kids] get to experience theatre from some different people,” Kelly Schnider, drama teacher, said. “They get training workshops from people who have expertise in their area. I want them to get the right stuff and for them to have these workshops, they get to go ‘Oh I like that. I think I’d like to do more of that in-depth sometime.’”

Events taking place at the conference included workshops on various theatre talents, presentations, tech challenges, improv olympics and viewing one act plays from other high schools around the state. Workshops ranged from acting to dancing to auditioning to vocals. Students could audition for scholarships and watch other one-act plays put on by other high schools. Marissa Young and Sarah Morgan, seniors, directed a one-act called “Pillowtalk” that was presented at the conference with seniors Dominic Bottom and Isabel Nauman along with juniors Jack Rintoul and Aly Terry acting in it.

“I really had fun directing the one-act,” Young said. “It was such a cool experience because I’m used to being in the shows or on the crew side of things, but to have the chance to direct it, have the audience there that wanted to see it and to have feedback from my peers was really cool. It was also fun to meet with professionals at the workshops and just learn as much as I could about these different aspects [of theatre].”

Students not only gained experience and insight from theatrical professionals, but they also returned home with awards from the conference. Merrick Schnider, senior, created the opening number of a musical and was able to show it at the conference after meeting with choreographers and conducting rehearsals. Jared Goudsmit, junior, won a superior rating and first place for his short film called “Diluted Fear” in the filmmaking contest. In the costume change tech challenge, Robyn Gill, junior, won third place. According to the Missouri State Thespians website, Missouri Thespians believe in theatre as a vital growing faction of life and education for students. They view drama, compassion, intelligence and humor as evident in their programs.

“Students get the idea that we have a really good [theatre] program here,” Schnider said. “It’s reinforced by getting to compare notes and meet with other students, but we also get to come back and appreciate our own program. It’s an intense weekend, but I think it’s really great for our students to get a view of what else is happening across the state.”