Posted On: Tuesday, April 9, 2019

This weekend, EHS Advanced Drama participated in the Tennessee High School Speech and Drama League (THSSDL) District Competition in Johnson City. The following students placed (6th or above) in their events:

  • Bess Allen and Emily Jenkins-- Duet Acting 
  • Adam White and Colby Dugger-- Duo Interpretation
  • Chelsea Hampton-- Poetry Interpretation
  • Brittany Kitchens-- Solo Acting
  • Madison Jaynes-- Storytelling

In addition, Bess and Emily placed first in their event and will go to the State Competition this weekend in Cookeville. Lana Natusch and Madison Townsend will go to Cookeville as well to compete in the Costume Design event, which is only offered at the State level.  Additionally, Colby Dugger received the honor of being in the All-Star Cast.  This means that of all the students who competed in the One-Acts Friday, he was among the top ten actors based on the judges' ballots.

Over the last two years, Drama instructor Meg Foster has been researching whether or not EHS Drama should venture into competitive Theatre.

"This quest led me to attend a competition as a judge," she said. "I was so impressed by the talent, ambition, and diversity that I saw that day that I knew this had to happen."

Last year, she executed a field trip to Districts in Morristown with students so they could understand the process and what it looked like. 

"They left both excited and intimidated," she said. "This year, we took the leap, and I am pleased to finally determine that it was worth it."

Foster said there is a huge learning curve with THSSDL and forensics in general. 

"We know "how to theatre, but we don't know the rules, jargon, and culture that comes with this regulated version of Theatre," Foster said. "We participated in one scrimmage in March and there was a remarkable difference in the performance of the students who went to that scrimmage. We were constantly researching and refining our events."

Another reason this is a monumental accomplishment is that our district (consisting of Science Hill, Sullivan East, Dobbyns-Bennett, Daniel Boone, Morristown East, and Morristown West) is the best district in the state. Though EHS students placed 5th and 7th in group events, other coaches told Foster they would have placed 1st in other parts of the state.

Though placing highly is a great reward, Foster said there are many other facets of competition that benefit students.

"The students are able to grow more because of the multiple opportunities to perform, feedback from judges, and raising the stakes from seeing other students perform," she explained. "I have had other students shine at many points this semester, not just the students who audition well and get the roles."

Next, EHS students will perform their one-act and group interpretation in May.

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