Putting on a Show

Annual Theater Fest showcases district thespians’ talents


Aadyant Suresh

The Backstage Bruins played host to this year’s Theater Fest, which rotates schools each year.

Aadyant Suresh, Staff Writer

The Backstage Bruins hosted the districts’ four other sibling theater programs for Friday’s TheaterFest at the Performing Arts Center, the district’s 19th production.

The event is an opportunity for theater students across the district to work together to create a variety show in a small amount of time. Each school puts on their respective performances focused on singing, comedy and more.

Some memorable acts included a musical performance from Prospect students featuring an individual wishing to join a choir but struggling to sing, despite help from his talented friend.

With each performance, the settings and props change. along with lighting and tech managing it behind the scenes.

Westmont theater director Jeff Bengford was in charge of the opening and closing acts. Even with challenges of each school’s upcoming performances, the shared goal of bringing the theater departments together makes the commitment worthwhile.

“We all think is really important to get our kids to know their fellow theater lovers and to share that passion and to connect to make those connections,” he said.
Prospect theater teacher Kurt Meeker also explained the difficulty of getting a variety show done in two days but applauds the work of the students to get everything done.

“That’s where the challenges lie,” he said, “but every time it works out really well and the students rise to the occasion, feel the importance of it, and support each other through this because they’re all going through the same process.”

The program began in 1999 before Branham reopened, with Bengford wishing to find a way to connect with other theater teachers. The idea morphed into TheaterFest, where teachers and staff gather to share their love of theater.

Meeker appreciates that his students can learn from other directors, with each providing a different style and approach to their instruction.

“This gathering makes it possible for students to experience other teaching and performance styles and other viewpoints on the art form that we all have this passion for.”