This story was corrected on Jan. 15. An explanation follows the story.
William Shakespeare once mused in his play “As You Like It” that “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players....”
Well if that is true, the most talented young players in Maryland made their way to Tuscarora High School in Frederick on Friday and Saturday for the annual state Thespians’ Festival.
More than 600 students from 23 high schools across the state were selected to compete in the festival.
Schools performed one-act plays while students competed individually in several events, including monologues and solo musical theater.
Judged by professional actors, professors and theater technicians from across the East Coast, schools and students were given marks from fair to superior in several categories.
Winners at the state level will move on to the International Thespian Festival to be hosted in June on the campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
Dorothy DeLucchi, festival coordinator and Tuscarora drama teacher, enjoys watching the students learn from their peers during the festival and realize a future in theater is attainable.
“It’s a real eye-opener for them,” DeLucchi said.
Tuscarora and Walkersville high schools represented Frederick County.
Walkersville brought to the stage the one-act play “Crosses to Bear” about students struggling with the death of two classmates in an alcohol-related vehicle crash.
Channeling their younger selves, Tuscarora students took on “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” a play based on a book series, which teaches about profound things in everyday life.
“It was going to be our fall show but I loved it,” DeLucchi said of choosing to perform it at the festival instead. “I love the message.”
One of the students in the play was Tuscarora senior Hannah Burdge.
“All of the characters are us playing ourselves,” she said.
Burdge has been involved in theater since sixth grade.
“It was something that made me happy,” she said of getting her start on the stage.
Last year, the 17-year-old won the opportunity to go to the international festival in the solo musical theater category.
“It was amazing,” she said. “It was really cool to be in a place, where so many people loved what I loved.”
As a state thespian officer, Burdge helped to plan the festival. She enjoyed seeing all the planning come to fruition.
In addition to performing, students attended a variety of workshops, including training in vocal audition, mask making, dos and don’ts of auditioning and building a character through movement.
Gloria McIntyre, president of the Educational Theatre Association, said she was pleased with how the festival turned out.
She taught a workshop updating adult troupe directors on what the EdTA is and what it will be doing this year.
The festival provides an opportunity to network, jump-start ideas and foster collaboration among schools, she said.
Students and teachers “enjoy being here,” McIntyre said.
As international thespian officer, Spencer Spotts came to the festival to teach a class on becoming a modern student leader. It was the Colorado high school senior’s first time in Maryland.
Spotts said he enjoyed learning about the many communities working together to produce the plays and seeing how passionate the students are about the craft.
“I’m loving it,” he said. “[The festival] has taught me so much more [than I expected.]”
Correction: The festival was attended by students from 23 schools in Maryland, the acronym for the International Theatre Association is EdTA, and Spencer Spotts is the international thespian officer.