International Thespian Conference 2017

Alyssa Fox and Ellie Cassidy

From mock auditions to circus skills, the International Thespian Conference (ITS) has many opportunities to teach young thespians theatre-related topics. Hundreds of high school students travel from all around Missouri to attend. At the conference, there are workshops, question-and-answer sessions with professionals, individual events, scholarship opportunities, etc. The conference typically lasts three days and rotates between Kansas City and St. Louis every two years.

This year, the conference took place in St. Louis at the Conference Plaza with students staying at the Grand Tower and Marriott Hotels. Each day, a show is performed by either an all-state cast or a certain high school. Iphigenia was performed by the all-state cast Jan. 12 and Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death of Edgar Allen Poe was performed by Parkway South High School Jan. 13. On the final day, instead of a production, scholarship recipients are announced and individual events with superior ratings are performed.

Throughout the conference, there are also one act plays performed by different schools. KHS performed Stirred, not Shaken by Claire Demmer starring JJ Noa, Addie Godsy, Dominic Bottom, Myksean Blair and Marissa Young, juniors, under the direction of Justin Sweeney and Maggie O’Brien, seniors.  The other one act Kirkwood brought was The Role of Della by John Wooten starring Sarah Morgan and Georgia Buchanan, juniors and Ellie Cassidy, senior, under the direction of Bryson Reid, senior.  Both shows were performed twice Jan. 12 before the final show was Jan. 14.

Among the different conference activities, workshops this year included improv olympix, character creation, hand props, hip hop dance and circus skills. The Q&A’s included familiar names in the industry such as Ben Jeffrey, broadway actor, and Deborah Barylski, professional casting director.

On Saturday, there were workshops offered in the morning, then students had lunch and finally the individual events (either an acting or singing piece done by one or two students) and scholarship recipients were announced and then everyone was headed back home. This year KHS’s technical theatre crew won first overall in the tech challenge. Bryson Reid, senior, was awarded a $1,000 theatre education scholarship, and Cara Palombo, senior, was awarded a $1,000 performance scholarship and a superior rating on her individual event I’ll Be Here from Ordinary Days. Missouri Thescon was considered a success by the Kirkwood students and from the organizers in charge.

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