High school thespians take over Center for the Arts

By Sedonia Martin on January 9, 2017

More than 800 of Maryland’s most dedicated high school theatre students attended the Maryland State Thespian Festival on January 6-7.

Students learn the art of mask making at the Maryland Thespian Festival in the Center for the Arts Department of Theatre Arts shop.
Students learn the art of mask making at the Maryland Thespian Festival in the Center for the Arts Department of Theatre Arts shop.

Towson University’s Center for the Arts was abuzz last Friday and Saturday, January 6-7, with the excitement of more than 800 of Maryland’s most dedicated high school theatre students. The Department of Theatre Arts hosted the Maryland State Thespian Festival.

Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones, a junior from Patapsco School of the Arts, helped plan the Maryland Thespian Festival.

Department of Theatre arts faculty taught workshops in acting, directing, playwriting, technical theatre, costume design, set design and more. Susan Rotkovitz, who teaches acting and script analysis, taught “Excavating the Text: Treasure Abound.”

“The students loved it!” said Rotkovitz, whose workshop focused on mining for hints, clues and queues embedded in the text. “We go through the script page by page looking for what the playwright gives us. It’s fun to see the students awakened to the work and how it changes their point of view.”

Robyn Quick, chairperson for the Department of Theatre Arts said, "We are so glad to welcome these students to Towson University to enhance their theatre education. While they are here, they have the opportunity to work with our incredible faculty, experience the Center for the Arts, and tour the campus. We hope some of them will become our future students as well."

"The workshop I presented was 'The College Search & Selection Process,'" said Dave Fedorchak, director of the university's Office of Admissions. “The goal of my presentation was to educate students about the college search and selection process so that they can make the best decision for their future.  I also educated them about Towson University specifics and the options that TU provides its students.” 

Emily Frocke, a junior from Tuscarora High School in Frederick County, said, “I love it! It’s such an amazing time.” Emilia Lawler, a junior from Walkersville High School, also in Frederick County, said the best part of the festival is “watching everyone have fun.”

Enthusiastic students mingled throughout the halls in between workshops and performances. Sarah Jones, a bubbly junior thespian officer from Patapsco School of the Arts, said, “It’s a fun and exciting experience. We actually have the opportunity to plan and organize the festival, and our teachers make it happen.”

Jones, who wants to pursue a college career in musical theatre, hopes to teach high school theater.

In addition to Rotkovitz and Fedorchak, Towson faculty teaching workshops included Steven Satta, Diane Smith-Sadak, David White, Tony Rosas, Julie Potter, and Tom Casciero, along with several others working behind the scenes to make the festival a success.

Participating high schools included Tuscarora, Manchester Valley, Bullis School, LaPlata, Paint Branch, Lackey, Leonardtown, Long Reach, Century, North Point, Patapsco School of the Arts, Seton Keough, Calvert, Clarksburg, Francis Scott Key, South Carroll, Patuxent, McDonough, Walkersville, St. Charles, Franklin, Westlake, Chopticon, Thomas Stone, Liberty, Barbara Ingram, St. Mary’s Ryken, Howard, Huntington, Atholton, The Jemicy School and Maryvale Prep.

The Maryland State Thespians organization is dedicated to serve grades 6-12's educational theatre programs. The group is affiliated with The International Thespian Society and the Educational Theatre Association. The International Thespian Society is a non-profit, tax-exempt honorary organization for high school theatre students. The society is committed to the advancement of educational theatre, and, to this end, publishes Dramatics Magazine, sponsors Thespian Festivals and theatre workshops, produces educational materials, and provides college scholarship opportunities for students.