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Thespian inductees attend Kansas City conference

From January 3 to 6, inducted members of the International Thespian Society (ITS) attended the annual Missouri Thespian Conference in Kansas City. To be inducted, students collect points from participating in plays or musicals. One point can also be gained from each show attended. 

On his second trip to Kansas City with the Falcon Players, junior Michael Stimpson had hoped to improve his acting skills. 

“I [was] quite excited for this year’s ITS trip. Last year it was a blast, I learned some stage combat and improv. I’m hoping to learn more and become a better actor on this trip,” Stimpson said.

The first hand experience with theatrical skills help prepare and train students for tasks back with their school theatre programs and personal endeavors in theatre. 

“I think the ten different workshop opportunities in the three days of the trip really help people learn a lot within their niche in theatre and grow their abilities,” Stimpson said.

Chaperone to the trip, theatre teacher Lyndal Willis had prior experience with the conference but had the chance to experience the trip from a different perspective the past two years.

“This is my fourth conference year. My first year doing the trip was virtual because of COVID. This is my third in-person conference and my second in Kansas City. I didn’t go to the conference as a high school student, the only time I went to the conference [before teaching at Summit] was as a college delegate. During that experience I got to talk to attendees about my college but I didn’t get to attend any workshops. I just got to meet other high schoolers and hype up the college I went to,” Willis said.

Willis said the conference is a great opportunity for students to see theatre in a new light and gain experience in the industry.

“The conference is a student-focused convention where theater students come together, network, go to workshops and learn about theater outside of a school setting. It feels like an equalizer between all of the theater programs. You get to learn a lot from professionals all over the state and not just your theatre teachers in your hometown,” Willis said.

Drawing from past experience, Willis said that attendees show an improved tenacity and value for teamwork. 

“When the students come back from the ITS trip, a lot of them have a better work ethic and those students work together a lot because they had the chance to get closer during the weekend. The things that they learn at conference can be directly applied in class. They all get a chance to be their own person and develop their independence for that weekend,” Willis said.

The most valuable part of the trip for Willis is seeing her students grow and flourish during the conference.

“I love seeing students come back from their workshops and asking them questions about what they learned and what excited them or what made them feel more interested in theatre. I think that’s the most important thing about the conference because I can see the students have a renewed interest in theatre after the trip,” Willis said.

Junior Aliza Carlson also attended a variety of events and learning opportunities on the trip, including an individual performance which she chose. 

“On the trip, other than the Main Stage performances by some of the other schools and the workshops, I participated in a scavenger hunt, a trivia game, and the monologue acting IE [Individual Event] competition,” Carlson said.

Although her preparation was strenuous, Carlson said her dedication paid off when she stepped on the stage.

“To prepare for my IE, I practiced my monologues until they were completely memorized, and then I met with Mrs. Willis to go over the acting side of them and make sure they were ready to perform at the conference. Then I just kept practicing until the day I performed! I was very anxious and nervous going into the performance, and I was mostly just thinking over my lines over and over in my head. I was second guessing how well I knew my lines while I was waiting for my turn, so I was saying my monologues in my head over and over. Luckily when I walked up to perform and I just started talking, I said all my lines correctly,” Carlson said.

Carlson received the highest possible ranking for her performance and was ecstatic to receive the news of her accomplishment.

“My first thoughts when I won my IE were mostly just pure surprise and elation, and being so thankful to God, and also to my friends who were right by me the whole time. I was so nervous beforehand and was definitely not expecting to get such a high rating, but I was so incredibly happy when I found out that I did,” Carlson said.

In July, Carlson will have the opportunity to perform her scene again in Jefferson City with a group of other superior rated attendees.

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Abbott Lackey, Layout Editor
Class of 2025 Time on staff: 2 years Favorite newspaper memory: My first Friday October stay late when our advisor brought us hotdogs from the home football game. Favorite song: Moby Octopad by Yo La Tengo

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