Milford Students attend Thespian Festival


Joe Antrim

A group of Milford students at the festival

Sam Spray, Managing Editor

        Milford High School is one of the many schools that attends the Michigan Thespian Festival annually, and once again saw success both in the competition and out of it. Michigan’s Thespian Festival, a yearly opportunity for theater programs across the state to come together in the name of competition, began on Dec. 13. Students who attend can compete in individual events, attend workshops, and compete for college scholarships (in their senior year). This year, it was held in Detroit at Cobo Hall and the Music Hall Theater.

Milford students competed in numerous events testing a range of skills, including everything from vocal refinement to the quality and emotion of a scene.

Each competition is set up to be entered by individuals or duets. Participants perform a song, monologue, or another piece for a panel of judges, who rate the performance on a scale from one to four. A one indicates the participant(s) did fair, two indicates a good performance, three excellent, and four superior. Each of the six judges use this scale, meaning the overall score will be out of 24. Students who  receive a superior rating overall have an opportunity to advance to the Michigan Youth Arts Festival and the National Thespian Festival.

This year, two Milford students received superior ratings in multiple different events. However, this did not come without hard work. Every student who attended spent months preparing: “I memorized a scene from the play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ in preparation for the festival and spent numerous hours with my scene partner Aspen Snyder working on blocking and character, as well as creating a natural flow in the scene,” said Junior Jenna Natwick. Another student who dedicated his time to the competition, Junior Joe Antrim, said, “I memorized two contrasting monologues back in October and auditioned for our school’s directors for one of the limited spots to compete. I got one of the two spots for competing monologues.”

All this preparation was well worth it in the end, both in terms of their ratings and their personal experience. Although all of the participants did not receive top ratings, many attested to the quality of the experience outside of the actual competition. “It’s so much fun and everyone learns a lot from it. It’s a smaller group of people than on a normal field trip, so it’s a more personal experience and you get much closer to other performers,” said Antrim. “I learned so much, from how to sword-fight on stage, to new Broadway choreography, to how to build a proper performing arts resume.”

This opportunity to grow Michigan’s theatrical community as a whole and each school that is in attendance is what makes the festival so popular. Each year around 1,500 students attend, with some coming for the experience alone, omitting the competition. However, many find that the competitive atmosphere is what makes the festival so exciting. As Junior David Meagher, who competed last year but chose not to this year, said, “I always find the festival to be very fun, and although it was relaxing to not worry about competing, I miss competing.”

Michigan’s Thespian Festival is an event like no other, consistently bringing together a community of people with shared interests from many different backgrounds. Each year may differ in outcomes, but the greatest testament to its quality is that students go year after year, with positive things to say after every experience. With any luck, this amazing opportunity will continue for many years to come, and future generations of Mavericks will get to experience many more Thespian Festivals.