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NSU to host Louisiana Thespian Festival
By David West

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University hosts the 2013 Louisiana Thespian Festival Jan. 25-26 in the A.A. Fredericks Center for Creative and Performing Arts. Junior high and high school students from throughout Louisiana will participate in worshops and performances and audition for college scholarships.

"The Louisiana Thespian Society is thrilled to return to Northwestern State University for our 2013 Louisiana Thespian Festival,” said Festival Director Kerry A. Onxley of Lake Charles. “With over 700 delegates registered for the event, the Louisiana Thespian Society is the largest organization in Louisiana dedicated to the junior and high school theatre student.”  

High schools and junior high schools attending the Festival include: Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Ben Franklin High School, Caddo Magnet High School, Christian Life Academy, The Children’s Theatre Company, Dutchtown High School, Evangel Christian High Academy, Evangel Christian Junior Academy, Episcopal High School, Episcopal Junior Troupe, Jasper High School, Kaplan High School, the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, Mandeville High School, McKinley Middle Magnet, Mount Carmel Academy, Northshore High School, St. Amant High School, St. Michael High School, Slidell High School, South Lafourche High School and West Feliciana High School.            

Northwestern State Theatre and Dance faculty, staff and students will be involved in the festival, conducting workshops and auditions and overseeing logistics for the event.

“This is the largest recruiting event for NSU Theatre and Dance,” said Scott Burrell, coordinator of Theatre and Dance at Northwestern State.  “Students from across the state who have interests in theatre and dance come to our campus to present plays, take workshops and audition for scholarships. Northwestern State Theatre and Dance has hosted the event since the late 90’s and uses the opportunity to introduce these talented to students to all our program and the university have to offer.”

During the weekend theatre celebration, students will participate in workshops, such as acting, Shakespeare, improvisations, voice, musical theatre, dance, stage combat, makeup, costuming and lighting.

The festival is presented by the Louisiana Thespians Society, a component of the international Educational Theatre Associational (EdTA).  The Louisiana Thespian Society exists as a non-profit theatre service organization for junior high and high school theatre programs. Membership includes junior and high school students, theatre teachers and art advocates. EdTA is the largest theatre organization dedicated to junior and high school students.   

“This year’s festival is a collaboration of the student’s hard work and dedication to theatre,” said Onxley. “ The very best of educational theatre work is displayed at this festival. I must also give kudos to Scott Burrell, staff and students with the Northwestern State theatre department.  They are always accomodating and very professional."