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High school actors win awards at theater conference

Actors at four Henderson County high schools are celebrating their honors at the 2019 NCTC High School Play Festival Nov. 8-9 in Greensboro. Together, the schools’ theater departments brought home 18 awards and a Superior rating.

Led by Kelly Cooper, West Henderson High presented “The Diviners” and earned a Superior rating, as well as a “Festival Spirit Award,” the “Barbizon Excellence in Design & Production: Music and Sound Design” (Aliya Shook, Roberto Bell, Wyatt Hughes, Luke Whisenant, Emma Robinson, Jessica Archis, John Burnette), “Excellence in Acting” (Anna Campbell), “Excellence in Acting” (Jeffery Cooper), and Honorable Mention Distinguished Play.

East Henderson High’s theatre program, led by Clay Gaitskill, presented “Waiting Room” at the Festival, and earned a “Festival Spirit” Award, “Theatre Arts Award: Excellence in Live Music” (Max Morava), and “Excellence in Acting” (Sydney Justice).

Led by Todd Weakley, Hendersonville High presented “Matter and Change” and earned a “Festival Spirit” Award, “Theatre Arts Award: Excellence in Student Writing and Collaboration,” “Barbizon Excellence in Design & Production: Lighting Design & Stage Management” (Emily Hilger, Gabby Ray), “Barbizon Excellence in Design & Production: Sound Design and Assistant Direction” (Samm Matteson), “Excellence in Acting” (Kaia Pelz), and “Excellence in Ensemble Acting.”

North Henderson High’s theatre program, led by Sydney Bailey, presented “Moon Songs” and” Will to Live” and earned a “Festival Spirit” Award, “Theatre Arts Award: Excellence in Stage Reading Performance,” “Excellence in Acting” (Leo Dominguez), and “Excellence in Ensemble Acting.”
This year, 3,000 students from 87 schools are performing 121 plays at 8 regional sites. The top 16 productions are invited to perform at the NCTC State High School Play Festival, Nov. 21-22 at Greensboro College.
Participating schools travel to their regional festival sites with theatrical sets, costumes, and props. Each show loads in to a 10’x10’ backstage area. When their time comes, each school group has 45 minutes to set up, performing the play, and clear the stage. Following their performance, students receive feedback from professional actors and directors with Broadway and Hollywood credits.
Awards are given for acting, design, technical craft, ensemble work, and festival spirit.