Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Curtain Call: Northview High School to Host Ohio State Thespian Conference

As the Northview Theater Program worked hard, August through November, to put on SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical to bring back childhood television memories for the audience, there was also the pressure of performing for two Ohio State Board screeners. 

When rehearsals for SpongeBob began, the students and theater faculty decided to submit themselves for consideration by the Ohio State Thespian Conference, inviting the screeners to watch the show in November. A few weeks after the show, the students would receive a response from the screeners: either an invitation to the State Conference, placed on a waitlist or declined. After the success of Northview’s State Conference performance of RENT: School Edition last year, the theater department was hopeful for a return.

“We were again invited as a full-length featured production this year,” Don Wachowiak, Northview High School Theater Program director, said.  The cast and crew of SpongeBob learned on Dec. 4, 2023, after waiting in anticipation and months of rehearsals, that they were invited to this year’s State Conference. 

Center stage at the conference 

“When we heard that we were accepted to perform on the main stage at such a prestigious event as the State Conference, we were absolutely blown away,” Hope Rison, State Thespian Officer, said. “Of course, we had hoped we would make it, but having it become a reality really proved to us that our hard work had paid off.”

Even more significant, Northview High School was chosen to host the 2024 Ohio Thespian State Conference, held from March 22 to March 24. Northview last hosted this conference in 2013. Northview was scheduled to host once again in 2020, however, due to COVID-19, that was canceled, making the selection as this year’s host an even more special moment for the Northview Theater Program. 

“After seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic took away our ability to participate in theater, this, being able to participate in the State Thespian Conference, will help us regain that sense of normality and community,” Rison said. 

Hosting the conference comes with significant responsibility. Hundreds of students, teachers and chaperones from around Ohio will attend. “In the past, the conference had as many as 1,600 participants… this year, we are currently expecting about 1,000,” Wachowiak said. 

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“Because Northview is hosting this year, aside from just performing, the entire team will be “busy transporting materials and guiding conference guests in addition to the expected three-days of theater master classes and fellow state-qualifying performances,” Tressel Holton, Northview Drama Club President, said.

Workshops and other learning

Additionally, to further enhance these theater skills, there are many workshops in which students can participate based on their interests or responsibilities in a production. For example, student actors can learn new acting techniques, choreography and improvisation, while tech students can learn about lights, props, rigging, design and more. For the juniors and seniors thinking about college, there will also be a College Fair, allowing theater students to meet with colleges they may be interested in. 

“I am absolutely looking forward to a second year at the State Conference,” Holton said. “It’s a phenomenal chance to meet like-minded students from around Ohio, to network for college and to just enjoy what we love.”

Ultimately, it is quite an honor for Northview to be invited to the Ohio State Thespian Conference two years in a row. Northview theater students are excited for the opportunity to show other students and teachers from across Ohio their theater talents and to learn from other productions. 

“The State Thespian Conference is extremely distinguished and highlights the best theater in Ohio. To be recognized at that level is truly remarkable and we are extremely thankful that we were awarded this opportunity,” Rison said. 


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