Thespian Talents Spotlighted at Robbinsville High’s New Jersey Festival

Robbinsville, NJ – Last month, students from Robbinsville High School once again showcased their talent at the prestigious New Jersey Thespian Festival, the largest annual student theater event in the state. The festival, which took place on January 13-14, featured a myriad of performance and technical theater workshops, as well as competitions, auditions, and community service projects. The highlight of the event was the “Thespys” awards, which recognized outstanding achievements in educational theater.

Robbinsville’s Troupe #7161 received the coveted Gold Honor Troupe status, a testament to their exceptional service and support in the field of educational theater. Two local students, Shreya Savur and Zach Peabody, were also recognized for their outstanding performances. Savur received a “Superior” ranking in the Musical Theater Solo category, while Peabody excelled in Lighting Design. Additionally, Isabella Ghen was awarded a $1,000 acting scholarship for a summer program with the renowned New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

Blake Gonzales, the theater arts teacher and director at Robbinsville High School, expressed her pride in the students’ achievements. She remarked, “Our students impressed the judges and now have a new direction to take their acting and music prowess. It was so rewarding to witness.” Gonzales also highlighted the importance of the Thespian Festival in promoting growth and improvement among both students and educators. The festival offers numerous workshops and lectures aimed at theater educators, providing them with fresh insights and teaching techniques.

New Jersey Thespians, the state chapter of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), organizes and plans the Thespian Festival. However, it is the Robbinsville students who take charge of setting up and dismantling the festival space. This year, a total of 1,132 students and educators from across the state attended the festival, showcasing the growing popularity and importance of theater education.

Looking ahead, Gonzales is excited about the future and aims to further enhance Robbinsville’s presence at next year’s Thespian Festival. She stated, “The experience has equipped me with more inspiration to improve, experiment with new challenges, and ensure Robbinsville shines even brighter in the future.”

Robbinsville High School’s Drama Club, known as the Raven Players, plays a significant role in the Thespian Troupe. The club, along with other students, stages a Fall play and a Spring musical, overseen by Choir Director Brian Williams. This year’s Spring production will be the captivating musical “Chicago: Teen Edition,” running from April 19 to 21.

Anusha Nandan and Mark Daily, newly-inducted members of Troupe #7161, attended the Thespian Festival for the first time. Nandan, who has been involved in theater since elementary school, competed in the Contrasting Monologues and Musical Theater Solo categories. She received an “Excellent” score for both performances and expressed her joy at the learning experience offered by the festival. Daily, on the other hand, focuses on the technical aspects of theater, particularly sound and set design. He found the workshops and classes taught by industry professionals highly informative and beneficial to his growth as a technician.

Both Nandan and Daily emphasized the supportive and inclusive nature of the theater community. Nandan reflected, “Theater – it’s so much fun to do, but it’s more than that – it’s the community you build along the way. These are people who you will forever remember – they will always have played a role in shaping your experience. These are people who help you; they nourish you. It’s an amazing experience.”

With nearly 30 students attending this year’s festival, Robbinsville High School continues to make its mark in the world of theater. The success of its students at the New Jersey Thespian Festival is a testament to their dedication and the school’s commitment to fostering artistic talent. As the curtains close on this year’s event, all eyes are already eagerly set on the Thespian Festival of the future, where Robbinsville’s shining stars will once again take center stage.

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