Theater students' trip

Temple High School theater students load luggage onto a truck Wednesday afternoon before the troupe left for a theater conference in Grapevine.

Temple High School junior Kylie Burke, 16, wishes theater was something everybody could experience in high school.

“I think there are a lot of stereotypes that come with being in theater and I think that once you actually experience being a member of a theater program, it’s really wonderful,” Burke said. “All the people are great … and our director is amazing. We’ve put so much effort into all these productions and convention and that makes it a very wonderful experience.”

Burke and 43 other classmates left for Grapevine on Wednesday to participate in a statewide festival at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in which students and troupe directors will celebrate theater.

The festival — featuring north of 8,200 attendees — runs from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday evening.

THS students will perform a shortened version of the play “Wilderness” — a play they performed in October at the Meridith-Dunbar auditorium. Their performance is slotted for 8 a.m. Saturday.

The local theater troupe was invited to participate after a panel reviewed a video submission they recorded during their performance earlier this year, theater arts director Natasha Tolleson said.

Interested attendees can watch the troupe’s performance, which runs about 55 minutes, in room Texas C on the third level of the convention center.

The festival will also feature workshops by theater professionals, where students can gain knowledge about the industry. Tolleson said she is excited that her students will receive training through these workshops.

“There are Broadway performers there, people there from the professional lighting industry and sound industry, and they’re able to take workshops with these people,” Tolleson said.

Tolleson said she wants her students to have the opportunity to watch other schools’ shows, and have a sense of camaraderie with other students who study theater in high schools across Texas.

Burke and sophomores Kelsi Seiter, 16, and Jillian Knox, 15, all understand this camaraderie and are excited to diversify their theater knowledge during the trip.

“I’m not really somebody that’s necessarily good at makeup but I really enjoy going to the workshops, because it’s something I like learning about,” Burke said.

This will be Burke’s second year attending the statewide festival, and she has already noticed how these workshops influenced her theater-related knowledge.

“There was one (workshop) that I went to and it was almost like a combat (workshop) where they did bruises and (special effects) stuff, and so that was really neat,” Burke said. In “Wilderness,” there’s a girl that cuts her arm open, so it was cool knowing what the makeup people were talking about.”

Temple High School is recognized as a Texas Thespians Outstanding Troupe for the 2019-2020 academic year, and this will be the 10th show they will have taken to this state convention under Tolleson’s direction.