Virtual Thesfest

Mackenzie Olmstead, Print Editor-In-Chief

For those not a part of the world that is the theatre department, you may not be aware of Thespian Festival, more commonly referred to as ‘Thesfest.’ The festival is a very looked-forward-to event held in about the middle of the school year for theatre kids to be joined by people with similar interests.

Senior Grace Leonardi was involved with the planning of the event this year.

“Thesfest is an event that happens yearly,” Leonardi said. “Every winter for high school thespians to go and meet people just like them.”

Students prepare different events to bring to the table for the festival.

“We each prepare individual events,” Leonardi said. “Like songs, monologues, scenes, or tech things. There are two main stage productions, one musical and one play, that different schools from around the state put on. There are a bunch of workshops set up in between individual events and shows, so you can literally do workshops for dancing, acting, for improv, tech stuff, stage managing, singing, literally anything you could think of.”

The annual event is a big thumbs up from Leonardi and many other thespian members.

“Honestly, it’s the best weekend that you’ll have as a thespian,” Leonardi said. “It’s important to all theatre kids, I think, because it gives them a chance to express themselves and learn a lot about different aspects of theatre, and connect with colleges.”

However, the festival, like many others, had to make some altercations to their agenda this year. The event was held virtually this year, a common switch it seems many events are making due to the infamous coronavirus that’s decided to take the world by storm.

“The biggest change that had to happen this year because of COVID-19 was that we weren’t allowed to meet up in-person,” Leonardi said. “Instead of being downtown in Detroit in the Cobo Center [now known as TCF Center] we were all cooped up in our own little homes on Zoom the whole time, which you would think would be boring and lame. Honestly, as someone who was on the Student Thespian Board I was like, ‘Oh, this is a bad idea,’ but it was literally so fun.”

“Another thing that was different but I think was really cool about this year was that we as STOs got to be a lot closer with the other thespians that were just participants,” Leonardi said. “This year we had these breakout sessions, where basically we led the group in discussions that everyone could join in on, so that was really exciting.”

“There were so many new opportunities that we got,” Leonardi said. “New opportunities like meeting famous people over Zoom, or having talk-backs with different people from Broadway shows. We still did a lot of workshops, we could do them live or we could do them pre-recorded, which was really good for the pre-recorded ones because you can go back and watch again, and for the live ones you can still ask questions and get detailed explanations.”

Senior Trinity Lupu was also in attendance.

“This year’s Thesfest was one of a kind,” Lupu said. “I got to attend sessions and learn choreography to a song in “Hamilton,” speak with a French accent, and improve my overall acting skills.”

“My favorite part was when we got to interact with other students from around the state in our breakout groups and watch shows from other schools. It was a blast since I got to do it at my friend Maria Chesnutt’s house and we were able to have fun together while improving our acting, singing, and dancing skills.”

It sounds like this year was a success for students involved in the theatre department, and the festival was a good way for them to connect with one another and strengthen any bonds.