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Theater students make history

What a wonderful, whirlwind weekend.

That’s about the best way to describe the 69th Walter Trumbauer Theater Festival at Troy University over the weekend.

Nearly 1,400 high school theater students from across the state competed in individual and group theater events. Among those were 16 students from Charles Henderson High School in Troy and Jessica Boothe, CHHS drama teacher, said she was extremely pleased with the performances of all of her students.

“Everyone did a really great job and we are very excited that we had a first place award,” Boothe said. “Luke Herndon and Briana Hooten finished first in Reader’s Theater. This was the first that time Charles Henderson has received a first place award at the Trumbauer Theater Festival. So, that’s very exciting.”

Katie Blocher finished second in pantomime, which was also an outstanding performance.

Charles Henderson had four students who were named to the state level All-Star cast, Kathryn Kelly, Jamal Carswell, Tara Youngblood and Katie Blocher.

“Being named to the All-Star cast means that they had stand-out performances,” Boothe said.

Jamar Carswell, Ariel Peterson, Olivia Bensinger, Tara Youngblood, Zerick Foster, Kathryn Kelly, Katie Blocher and Michael Rader all received superior ratings for their performances. Superior ratings are top ratings for the Trumbauer Theater Festival.

“About 50 schools competed at Trumbauer and with 1,400 students and teachers in attendance, we had a full house for the weekend,” Boothe said. “The students who participate in Trumbauer are always so cooperative and well behaved. They come ready to compete, to learn and to have fun. It just warms you heart to be a part of an event like this.”

Boothe said the state competition only happens once a year and her students begin looking forward to it as soon as school starts. “We have a semester before the competition and they are always anxious and ready to go,” she said. “Trumbauer is an opportunity for them to learn, to have their spirits lifted and to renew their interest in theater.

“When students are exposed to others who love what they do, it gets them more excited about theater. Trumbauer is a tiring weekend but it’s also fun, educational and an opportunity to learn about new ways and ideas of performing. It’s a wonderful creative environment for young performers.”

Boothe said a large number of parents and other family members attended Trumbauer and their participation was greatly appreciated.

“We also receive a lot of support from the Troy Education Foundation and the Troy Arts Council,” Boothe said. “Their support of our program is very important to us. We certainly want to thank them for all they do to in support of our theater program.”

This was the last year that Trumbauer will be held at Troy University for a while. It has been at Troy University for three years so it will now rotate to the University of North Alabama for three years.

“ Having the state festival here in Troy has been convenient for us but we’ll look forward to Trumbauer wherever it is,” Boothe said.