LARAMIE — More than 700 students will participate in the annual Wyoming State Thespian Festival on Dec. 5-7 at the University of Wyoming.

The competition is organized by the Wyoming Educators of Secondary Theatre and is hosted by UW’s Department of Theatre and Dance. The three-day event is dedicated to presenting and adjudicating the performance, technical and design work of Wyoming theater students.

Students from more than 30 Wyoming high schools will compete across the UW campus, including the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts and the UW Conference Center. They will compete in a variety of performance and design events, including monologues, scenic design and costume design. Each school also may bring one group performance in proscenium, arena or devised.

Experienced theater artists will judge the events and offer productive feedback. Additionally, theater professionals will present workshops in acting, voice, movement, dance and design.

Patrick Konesko, a UW assistant professor and co-producer of WSTF, notes the importance of direct interactions with experienced artists.

“Many high school theater programs across the state are run on pure passion,” Konesko said. “Often, teachers who get drafted to run these programs don’t have formal theater training. This event is an opportunity for the teachers and, more importantly, the students to get critique and gain experience with experts in the field.”

Students also will have opportunities to learn more about UW’s performing arts programs and the campus. Hosting the festival gives the UW Department of Theatre and Dance aopportunity to provide services to the state and to the university, according to Cecelia Aragón, a UW professor and co-producer of the event. The department builds bridges and solid relationships with secondary public schools in Wyoming.

The UW College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office recognized the potential Wyoming State Thespian Festival has and awarded an inreach grant to the UW Department of Theatre and Dance to support the costs of hosting the festival.

For more information about the festival, contact Aragón at 307-766-3283 or ccaragon@uwyo.edu.

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