Thespians attend MTA Festival


Submitted photo

Kate Dickerson

OXFORD, Miss., Thursday, January 1619, 2020 – the Starkville High School Thespians attended the Mississippi Theater Association [MTA] Festival. The students participated in individual events and ten-minute play. The students also attended workshops and audition for colleges. 

In December, the Thespians competed at North Half in Starkville, Mississippi, with their play, The Mental State. The play did not advance to MTA, but the students attended the festival to compete in other categories.  

“I personally believe the most rewarding thing about MTA is seeing growth over a span of time. Seeing that self-improvement is more rewarding than any medal to me,” Thespian President Jaylon Ashford said. 

The Thespians competed in individual events. Students prepared and practiced their pieces several weeks before MTA. Eleven students received callbacks for individual events, and ten students won individual event awards. 

“Individual events are really cool because it’s not just competing with monologues and acting and singing. It’s also with things like design,” senior thespian Elizabeth Balzli said. 

Ashford competed in Poster Design. His poster was based off Little Shop of Horrors. He was awarded first place.  

“For Poster Design, students are given four different theatrical shows, all of different styles. After making a selection, we are tasked with presenting and defending a finalized design and research for three adjudicators,” Ashford said 

Juniors auditioned for colleges from around the country. They performed a monologue and a song. Eight students received 33 callbacks collectively. 

“You actually audition in front of the professors from the schools. You don’t get in the schools right then. They will ask you to comeback and visit,” Balzli said. 

Aside from competing and performing, the thespians participated in a movement and dance workshop. 

“We learned how to move our body and flow across stage rather than just be stiff. It’s all about movement and how you move your body, Balzli said. 

The festival is also a great way for students to grow and develop together. The students participated in exercises that helped build trust while on stage. 

Ashford said she also learned about trust. In a group setting, I can only do as much as I can, and I have to rely on my partners to do their part.”  

The Thespians were pleased with their performances at MTA, and they are excited to continue working hard throughout the rest of the semester.