Marshfield theatre troupe heads to Thespian Festival

For the first time in almost 10 years, Marshfield’s advanced drama students, led by instructor Kelly Haut, prepare to attend the Thespian Festival in Eugene.


By Helena Platt | Copy Editor


In the year and a half since Drama Director Kelly Haut has come to Marshfield High School, the MHS Drama program has accomplished many momentous noteworthy feats. In 2012 they both utilized the Marshfield auditorium for the first time since the 1990s for production of the play Dracula and were officially inducted into the International Thespian Society as a registered theatre troupe. The Wizard of Oz was the first musical produced at Marshfield in 17 years. Now, for the first time in almost a decade, Haut will be taking her Advanced Drama class to the annual Thespian Festival.

            “We were only recently reinstated as a theatre troupe. So we haven’t gone [to the Thespian Festival] in at least six or seven years,” Haut said.

All 27 members of the Advanced Drama class have signed up to go to South Eugene on Feb. 2, so they can attend the Thespian Festival regionals. Haut said the event is an opportunity for her students to be around like-minded individuals and will allow them to better themselves as actors. Those who perform well in their events may even progress to state and later possibly progress to nationals.

“It is really a community event; they [the students] get to be around people who appreciate the arts the way they do, and if they win their event they get to move on to state and then to nationals,” Haut said.

            Senior Aly Welch is one of the drama students slated to travel to Eugene in February. Welch has been a member of the MHS Drama program for the past two years and is looking forward to the opportunity to take part in the Thespian Festival.

In addition to the personal enrichment the Festival provides, there are also financial incentives awarded to promising young actors.

            “They give out scholarships, and it’s another way to perform, since we don’t do many plays throughout the year,” Welch said.

            As she is in her final year of high school, Welch recognizes the importance of scholarship opportunities.

            “I’m a senior now, so scholarships are really important,” Welch said.

            Zaq Carroll, another Thespian actor-to-be and one of Welch’s friends and fellow seniors, believes the festival can also be a chance to develop skills performing in public.

            “I think that it would be a great opportunity to get experience acting in front of a crowd,” Carroll said.

            Actors in the festival can perform in various events to showcase their skills. Categories include monologues, duets, ensembles and musical performances. However, they are limited to only three events per participant.

            “I’m doing two contrasting monologues, a duet scene with another girl and a solo musical performance,” Welch said.

            Sophomore Shasta Banks will also be a performer at the Thespian Festival. Banks plans to do an ensemble performance with three of her drama classmates.  

            “I am doing ‘All I Wanna Do Is Eat,’ and I am doing that with my sister [Sierra Banks], Carlee Christoferson, and Hannah Mansfield,” Banks said. “We tend to practice wherever and whenever we can, because we only got the music last week.”

            Some members of the Advanced Drama class, such as sophomore Cheyenne Anderson, will not actually be performing in the Thespian Festival. However, they will still be traveling to Eugene in order to support fellow members of their troupe.

“We get to watch them as a class,” Anderson said. “My understanding is that we’re all going to be sitting in a room, and we get to watch them perform and support them.”

The Advanced Drama class will also be taking a scheduled detour to relieve stress and enjoy a day out of town.

“We’re going ice-skating,” Carroll said. “I have never ice-skated. I’m looking forward to it.”

            Like her classmates, Welch is excited to travel with her team and have fun at the Thespian Festival.

 “… [I’m looking forward to] taking a trip because all the other Advanced Theatre kids are going,” Welch said. “It’s just more bonding time and competing for scholarships is really fun.”