March Madness might mean basketball to some people, but for those involved in educational theater it means that the Vermont Drama Council’s Regional Theater Festival season has begun. Throughout March local schools in Vermont host one act theater festivals for five to six schools to attend and revel in the glory of theater. The incredible amount of work leading up to each festival is astounding and the day of the festival is even greater.
On March 16, five schools from around the state attended the Regional Theater Festival at BFA St. Albans. BFA Fairfax students involved in the production of “The Yellow Boat” celebrated theater with students from Peoples Academy, Rutland High School, BFA St. Albans and Milton High School. The festival is a long and beautiful day of engaging in the arts with students and community members from across the state.
Our day began at 7:45am where students packed up the truck and bus with their props, costumes and set pieces. Once at the festival, we were welcomed by our student host from St. Albans and settled in to the theater for a Dr. Seuss themed opening ceremony. Students then participated in yoga/mindfulness and paper hat making workshops before returning to the theater for the first of five one act theater performances of the day.
Each school has an opportunity to prepare for their show by doing a technical walk through either the week before festival or the day of. In addition, each school receives time before their show to prepare for the performance by getting into costume and completing their hair and makeup. Fairfax performed an incredible performance of “The Yellow Boat” just before dinner time. Students received wonderful praise and feedback from their peers during the Liz Lerman Forum.
By 9pm, all five shows had performed and students prepared for their Seuss themed spoofs of each show. After spoofs and an improvisation session hosted by BFA St. Alban’s improv team, students from each production were honored for their excellence in theatrical craft. Fairfax students who received these honors were: Madison Fitzgerald for Excellence in Acting, Annalise Durocher for Excellence in Choreography, Alyse Caruso-Randall for Excellence in Acting and Lily Coleman for Excellence in Acting. In addition, BFA Fairfax’s cast and crew received the Excellence in Outstanding Drama award.
At the end of the festival, graduating seniors were welcomed to the fill the stage and were thanked for their commitment to theater. They were reminded to fill the next stage of their lives with that same level of dedication and to always come find joy in the arts. BFA Fairfax wishes only the best for this year’s graduating seniors: Alyese Caruso-Randall, Isabelle Collum, Lily Coleman, Annalise Durocher, Caitlin Allan, Hope Beyor, Eli Silman, and Jayvin Shepard.
As the festival comes to a close, students pack up their sets, costumes, props, makeup and belongings and return to the bus. Once off the festival property, the judge’s packet is opened and feedback from the director’s forum is shared with students. One student from each show is selected to attend the State Festival to participate in the All Star Cast and two school’s performances also advance to states. Congratulations to Milton High School and Rutland High School on their advancement to the State Festival. BFA Fairfax’s Madison Fitzgerald will perform with the All Star Cast on April 4th and 5th at Essex High School.
Marcy Perrotte – BFA Middle and Elementary School Special Educator and Sara Villeneuve – BFA High School Language Arts Teacher.