High School Students to Participate in On-Campus Theater Festival

High School Students to Participate in On-Campus Theater Festival
Nogales High School students Paul Gonzalez and Vanessa Carlin portray Leon and Mrs. Trotsky in their scene from “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” during last year's High School Scene Festival and Technical Olympics at Cal Poly Pomona.
Catherine Kahn, right, and Crystal Whalen of Chino Hills High see how fast they can dress Cal Poly Pomona Theatre student Lauren Donahoo in the Costume Quick Change competition during last year's festival.

Hundreds of drama students will converge at Cal Poly Pomona on Friday, Jan. 14, to participate in the High School Scene Festival and Technical Olympics, an annual event intended to celebrate theatre arts, and encourage and cultivate future actors, designers and technicians. Nearly 500 students from 15 Southern California area high schools will compete in the daylong event (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) hosted by the university's Theatre department.

Now in its 14th year, the High School Scene Festival features a competition among drama students who will perform scenes in front of judges, including Theatre  alumni, industry professionals and faculty. Aspiring designers and technicians will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in competition at the Technical Olympics in such areas as sets, lighting and costumes. Awards and scholarships are given to the top performers. In addition, faculty members will hold workshops for the students covering topics such as improvisation, audition techniques, scene painting and makeup.

High schools scheduled to attend include: Arroyo Pacific Academy (Arcadia), Bassett High School (La Puente), Bonita High School (La Verne), Chino High School, Chino Hills High School, Colony High School (Ontario), El Toro High School (Lake Forest), Los Altos High School (Hacienda Heights), Nogales High School (La Puente), Orange County School of the Arts, Rancho Cucamonga High School, Sunny Hills High School (Fullerton), Sultana High School (Hesperia), Walnut High School and West Covina High School.

The High School Scene Festival provides students an opportunity to network with their peers and the university community. Students interested in drama can work toward an undergraduate degree in Theatre and can participate in a wide variety of productions, not only as performers, but also as designers and stage technicians.

“We're pleased to have such a long history of reaching out to the regions budding actors and tomorrow's designers and technicians,” says department chair William Morse, II. “We want to create a collaborative environment where students can share ideas about their craft and also provide an opportunity for students to learn about the educational opportunities in our program and the university.”

This is the 20th year that the Theatre department has provided a high school theatrical arts festival for local communities. The High School Scene Festival evolved from the earlier High School One Act Festival.

The Theatre departments 2004-05 main stage productions, called Just for Laughs, will feature comedies. From Feb. 25 to March 6, William Shakespeare's “Twelfth Night” will be staged. The hit off-Broadway farce “Fuddy Meers” will be presented May 13-22.

“With everything going on in the world we thought it was important to remember to laugh,” says Morse. “After all, don't we all need a good laugh?”

The University Theatre Box Office number is (909) 869-3800.