Theatrefest highlight of year for drama

Theatrefest highlight of year for drama

With the start of the new year came an annual event that CM’s drama students really look forward to: Illinois High School Theater Fest (IHSTF).

Students from all over Illinois come together at a college campus (the campus alternates every year between U of I and ISU) to participate in different workshops and see different shows that other schools bring to the festival. This year was the 45th annual Theater Fest and it took place at the ISU campus in Normal, Illinois. About 30 students from CM went on this 3 day trip and they can all say it was an amazing experience.

CM’s group arrived at the Alton train station around 7:45 am on Thursday January 9, 2020. It was about a two-and-a-half hour train ride to our hotel in Normal. The Theater Fest opening ceremony did not start until 6:00 so we had plenty of time to kill eating lunch and causing chaos at the local Party City.

We arrived at the ISU campus early so we could get good seats for the opening ceremony. We stood in line for approximately an hour and a half. While we waited we watched floods of theater kids from all over the state socializing and being overall crazy. When we got our seats in the ISU auditorium, those of us who had never been to Theater Fest had no idea what to expect. Theater kids were everywhere playing rock-paper-scissors with people they had never met, random outbursts of songs such as “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, chants about cornbread, and many more exciting things.

When the opening ceremony finally started, we had a lovely performance from a band named Under the Streetlamp. After the opening ceremony we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the long day that was ahead of us.

Friday, January 10, was the first official day of Theater Fest. From here all of the students went their separate ways going to different shows, classes, and workshops hoping to expand their horizons and learn more about their specific crafts. I, Isabella Garrett, went to several workshops about technical theater and working with soundboards.

Senior Emily Fitzgerald said, “The best part of the first day was getting to hang out with people I don’t usually talk to”. Multiple students from CM saw a show we had done for our 2018 spring musical entitled The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This show was performed at Theater Fest by Clinton High School.

Saturday was our final day at the 2020 IHSTF. That morning we went our separate ways to our final workshops and shows. All of the CM kids met at the main auditorium where we saw the opening ceremony to see the All-State production of Aida. This show was absolutely incredible. Students from all over the state audition for both the cast and crew and put on an amazing production every year. After we saw Aida, we then boarded the train for the two and a half hour train ride back home. All in all, Theater Fest is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn a lot of valuable information about performing arts and technical theater from professionals.

During the 2020 Theater Fest we all made some memories we will never forget and we cannot wait to see what next year’s IHSTF will bring!