Friday, April 20th, the Grand Marais Drama Class made the 200-mile road trip to Houghton for the First Annual Upper Peninsula Theatre Festival at Michigan Technical Univeristy. A total of 65 students from seven schools participated. Norway attended with 16 kids, Houghton with 14, Powers with 3, Lake Linden with 6, L’Anse with 12, Hancock with 3, and Burt Township with 10. The attending students from Grand Marais were Dominik Kinlaw, Kelcie Lundquist, Cindy Rauff, and Jerry Connor (9th graders), Nate Woodruff, Elizabeth Scaife, and Taurie Horst (10th graders), and Michaela Bauknecht and Bryce Ward-Harbaum (both 11th graders).
After spending the night in a local hotel, the Burt Township students arrived at MTU ready to perform. Each school that participated performed a scene that they had picked out for that occasion. They were scored on their ability to perform their selection in the amount of time specified. This time allotment included setting their stage, performing, and removing their equipment off the stage. Schools were also scored on overall professionalism and stage presence. Houghton HS certainly deserved their highest-ranking score with their rendition of Incognito, and for their efforts they were awarded a cash prize.
After the performances, the students even played a little game of “How Long Can You Keep the Ball in the Air?” It was a fun little game for everyone to be able to participate in, as well as a chance for the students from the different schools to have the opportunity to work together toward a common goal.
After everyone preformed their scenes and enjoyed a lunch, they attended different workshops that were provided. The workshops offered were How Color Works, Auditioning and Interviewing for College, Improvisation for Creativity, Dialectically Speaking, and Costume Adventures. The students attended two of the five workshops of their choosing. These workshops were a great way for the students to get a chance to learn more about specific aspects to theatre. It also allowed the students to expand their options for what they want to do that when they go to college.
After the students were finished with the workshops, they packed up all their things and made the long bus ride home. The festival seemed to energize the students because everyone, including our beloved bus driver, Lou Bailey, sang their way back home!
By: Cindy Rauff