UCPS students rate high in theater competitions

Nov. 12, 2013 @ 05:47 PM

Cuthbertson High School, Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Sun Valley High School and Porter Ridge High School received accolades at recent regional theater festivals. 

Cuthbertson presented two plays at the North Carolina Theatre Conference High School Play Festival on Oct. 29. The plays, "Among Friends and Clutter" and "Rabbit Hole," both received a rating of "excellent." 

In addition to the high ratings, Among Friends and Clutter received the Excellence in Ensemble Acting award. Junior Jayme Johns received the Excellence in Student Design & Production award for stage management for Among Friends and Clutter. Junior Tana Stamper also received the Excellence in Student Design & Production award for stage management for Rabbit Hole. 

Senior Spence Crane received the Excellence in Acting award for his performance in Among Friends and Clutter. 

Each fall, the North Carolina Theatre Conference presents the High School Play Festival at eight regional sites across the state. In 2013, more than 3,000 students from 94 schools are participating in the statewide event, presenting 128 plays.  Sixteen shows advance from these regionals to perform at the NCTC State High School Play Festival, November 21-22 at Greensboro College, according to a statement from the North Carolina Theatre Conference. 

Central Academy of Technology and Arts also presented two plays, "The Parchman Hour" and "Coming Attractions."

The Parchman Hour won the regional festival and the two shows earned a total of 13 awards. The group will perform at the state finals Nov. 21.

Five students received Excellence in Acting awards: Senior Shane Wyatt for Coming Attractions, Senior Samatha Jackson for Coming Attractions, Senior Nkeki Obi-Melekwe for both productions, Senior Carlton Collins for The Parchman Hour and Sophomore Shidarius Barrett for The Parchman Hour.

Senior T.J. Schmidy won Outstanding Male Actor for Coming Attractions and The Parchman Hour won Most Outstanding Ensemble.

Theater Teacher Larry Robinson won a directing award.

In addition, Junior Jasmine Lasane won an Excellence in Lighting Design award for both productions, Junior Elijah Inuwa and Sophomore David Moberg received an Excellence in Musical Design Award for Parchman Hour and Senior Chapin Silberquit received an Outstanding Achievement in Projections award for The Parchman Hour.

"We were just absolutely ecstatic," Robinson said. The kids were beside themselves, he said.

Robinson chose "The Parchman Hour," a story of the Freedom Riders in Mississippi without having read the script and was excited to put on the show.

A member of the audience recorded the applause the students received after the performance and it was about two minutes of applause.

The students performed in Charlotte for Charles Jones, one of the Freedom Riders and they decided going in that while winning would be nice, their goal was to honor the Freedom Riders.

"(They) unquestionably did that," Robinson said. He said people in the audience were crying and one judge had to stop and collect herself during adjudication because she was also crying.

The students are currently working to raise about $3,000 to travel to the state competition. They will be holding an encore performance of The Parchman Hour on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the CATA auditorium. Tickets are $5.

Porter Ridge High School also advanced to the state finals and students at Sun Valley High School took home awards.