VA Thespian Update
VA Thespians Kudos & Happenings
December: VTF One month away, holidays, and school breaks for days!
As of today, general registration for VTF is over BUT... you can still sign up for late registration until December 15th! We are waiving late fees this year in hopes to get you there! Reach out with any needs for assistance or questions.
Meet & Greet: Your VTO Co-Chairs
Katie Hudson & Zack Kattwinkel are the Virginia Thespian Officer (VTO/STO) co-chairs this year. Also, Zack is secretary helping manage the website as well as social media pages. Katie is also the Junior Thespian chair helping us build up our middle school programs. Zack teaches at First Colonial HS #3178 in Virginia Beach with a production team and Katie teaches at Broad Run HS #3564 in Loudoun. Zack is a veteran board member and thespian, growing the VTO/STO program from nothing to over 10 officers per year as well as helping build a robust program. He received the Education Theatre Scholarship when he was a high school Thespian himself. Zack has helped run many theatre programs over the years and still performs in local theatres in his community. Katie is a VA native, works in community theatre too, and just took over her program last year during the pandemic! Katie worked previously as a middle school director in public school as well as arts programs and private schools in the area. Thank you both for all that you do!
Director Spotlight: Marla Wood
Marla Wood is director of troupe #5688 at Hickory High School in Chesapeake County. You may have last seen them in 2020 when they brought Freaky Friday the musical to VTF! Marla is also our Thespys chair and will help us tremendously get students auditioning smoothly or looking to place adjudicators in the right place, at the right time. Their department hosts many creative fundraisers from costume sales to silent auctions to Chick-fil-a Tuesday benefits, and more throughout the year. Recently they produced All Together Now: A Global Event Celebrating Local Theatre. The revue features 15 slots for musical performances with multiple songs in November and will participate in a local Chesapeake event as different holiday characters around town. Marla is a veteran teacher who has been a teacher, a part of Thespians, and promoting individual event/Thespys competitions as part of her curriculum for decades. Bravo HHS and thank you for your service Marla!
Curtain Call Congrats: John Champe HS
Troupe # 8012 under the direction of Nicki Cabinass we meet Avalon Theatre Company at John Champe High School. The school opened in 2012 and they branded their company name in 2013. They have received awards at VHSL, VTA, NYA, VTF, including an Excellent Rating on their one act "Between the Stalls" in October. and several grants to support their program projects. This fall they have been very active as the state returned to in person learning. They took a fall show to VTA's virtual conference, produced Pride & Prejudice last month, and will prepare for their annual one act festival: Friday Knight Live in January: a student written and directed showcase. Break legs Avalon and kudos to you and all your hard work! You may recently remember them from their one act production in 2020 that received a Superior Rating for Overall Performance at VTF for "Bad Auditions on Camera!" Nicki also serves as the One Act Chair on the Thespians board and the liaison for us for Virginia Theatre Association (VTA) too. Thanks Nicki and break legs on your shows this year!
Meet & Greet: Your VTO Co-Chairs
Director Spotlight: Marla Wood
Curtain Call Congrats: John Champe HS
Here's what to expect at VTF with COVID-19:
Teacher Tool of the Month: Project Share-a-thon Resource!
BONUS RESOURCE: Happy Holidays & Lessons!
We appreciate you! In a very tough time, in a very tough year, we see you working hard! Here are some more resources to get you to the next holiday break! We are here for you and are happy to support how we can.
Here is a great lesson plan that you could turn into a bonus unit, holiday unit, whatever on sewing skills for your classes, student groups, etc.
Good news- Fairfax County has a mask optional policy now. Maybe your county will be next! Our petition is helping others, share it around and maybe it will help you too! Have a wonderful and happy holiday season & break! You deserve it!
Hope to see you at #VTF2022! Also read below for even MORE resources coming soon!
On The Stage Resources
Hi ITS subscribers,
I recently talked with Addie about the work she’s seeing ITS member departments do across Virginia.
Needless to say, your efforts are extraordinary.
Hearing about the different ways educators are fighting tooth-and-claw to keep their programs alive and give their students a chance to perform never fails to leave me inspired.
While the year gets off on another uncertain note regarding performance guidelines and the path forward, my colleagues and I want to support theatre makers in any way we can.
I work with a group of artists providing school and community theatre programs across the country with free and easy to use resources for their upcoming performances. We are On The Stage, and we provide a theatre empowerment program packed with ticketing, templated websites, automated marketing and social media tools, integrated streaming and VOD capabilities, and our latest fundraising suite. We’re looking to give back to the performing arts educators that gave us so much when we were students.
Addie believes in On The Stage’s mission and she was nice enough to invite me to write this message to you. If you’re interested in learning about how we can support you, I would love to talk to you and see if there’s anything we can do. Educators and schools should not have to pay out of pocket for necessary resources that keep their programs alive and On The Stage empowers educators across the country to keep giving students a place to perform.
If you’d like to get in touch and hear more about our set of theatre tools here’s a quick form so we can touch base.
All the best,
On The Stage
How to Find out More...?
Please see the updated guidance below for mask optional theatre performances effective immediately.
For those with upcoming shows, particularly this weekend, please feel free to move forward with planned masking and practices. This might be a consideration for student comfort and performance success given that many of our students are taking the stage for the first time in over 1.5 years and this might be a considerable adjustment for some students.
If you choose to move forward without masks, please work with your school principal on practices prior to implementation. This might include obtaining parent and student permission if choosing to perform without masks, inquiry and logging of vaccination or negative test status and audience notification.
Students should have the option to perform with masks without penalty regardless of vaccination status. All technical students, audience members and staff should be universally masked at all times. Student performers should be masked when not on stage.
More information to come but please review the below information carefully:
Updated Theatre and Choral Performance Guidelines for Middle and High School:
Fairfax County Public Schools continuously reviews our polices in response to changing Covid-19 health metrics. Given Fairfax County has moved into the moderate level of transmission, we plan to proceed with mask optional theatre and choral performances for the remainder of SY2021- 22. We believe this is the appropriate action given our current rate of community and school transmission. Additionally, athletic programs have been granted permission in close contact sports to “perform” indoors on a mask optional policy under the “exercise” exemption. Similarly, theatre performances incorporate activities that require exercise and physical exertion, often including dance which VDOE Fine Arts guidance now permits students to remove while dancing (exercising). Therefore, effective immediately, FCPS will allow mask optional choral and theatre performances in middle and high school to ensure our performing arts students have equitable access to meaningful and authentic extracurricular opportunities.
Below are the guidelines we will follow for implementation:
- Students wear masks during all performing arts instruction, activities, rehearsals and technical activities prior to final (tech) rehearsals and performances.
- Vaccinated students may perform without masks. If needed, a vaccination card collection system may be implemented.
- Students who perform without masks shall continue to wear masks in all non-performing spaces during performance (backstage, technical areas, dressing rooms, hallways).
- Students may choose to perform with masks regardless of vaccination status without penalty.
- Student blocking, movement and placement shall follow state and district social district guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
- Audience and crew members will remain universally masked and follow state and distinct social distance guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
- State and district social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting guidelines would remain in place and enforced."
I will be meeting with the Virginia Department of Health Dec 2nd at 10 am virtually. If there are updates, mandates, other concerns you would like me to share, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share on behalf of you and the state.
REMINDER: Want a headache-free way to sign up for conference?
1. Have students complete this form with their interest. Give a deadline that works for you and this way all of the information is in one place and hopefully it takes 30 min-1 hour to register everyone depending on your group size. *Note the form is a sample, make a copy of your own, add it to your drive to keep track of the data, and thank Neil Burch for this format!
2. Collect the appropriate amount of money from students. As suggested from veteran attendees, spend some class time, rehearsal time, or however you best communicate with students to explain conference and all its programming. Note what is paid separately like hotels, meals, auditions, Thespys, etc. (the form in step 1 above ,will include inquiry related to these add ons and the hyperlink here directs you back to the amounts for registration and the additional events).
3. Register everyone (at once) through your account. Then pay the invoice(s) through the funds you collected. Another note from veteran attendees: collect your money and put into a field trip (or other similar type) fund through your secretary or your boosters. Then write one check to cover it all or make one credit card payment to take care of all invoices. Pro tip: DO NOT submit your registration for an invoice until all of your registrants are finalized!! Looking to book your hotel now? Download the informational document below or check here, when you scroll to the bottom, on our website.
4. Can't come as a troupe due to mandates? Have your students complete this form if they want to attend as an individual and we will match them with a school to hangout with for the weekend. Email email@example.com for questions or more information.
5. NEW-Book your hotel room before it is too late! There are a limited amount of blocks available for VTF.