Thursday, March 26, 2015
Office of College Advancement
Fremont, CA-For two days each spring, the Ohlone College campus is overrun with performers from high schools across the state. Virtually every open space is staked out as a rehearsal area and at any time you may encounter someone reciting Shakespeare, singing Broadway show tunes, or liberally applying stage makeup, in preparation for their upcoming shot onstage. The Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival, which took place March 20-21, has been held every year for the past 21 years.
The Festival is the largest of its kind in Northern California, with over 800 high school students participating from 24 different high schools, many from all around the Bay Area, and some from as far away as Grass Valley, Salinas and Hollister. En masse, they converge on the Ohlone College campus in Fremont for competition, inspiration, and instruction. Festival support requires 30 high school teachers, almost 100 judges, and 60 Ohlone student and staff coordinators.
Designed to encourage young theatre artists in their craft, the Festival provides a venue for students to showcase their talents through energetic competition. Students also benefit from being introduced to exciting new material, interacting with other students, and observing their peers while watching all the events.
Students compete for 100 awards in 35 categories in performance, improvisation, dance, technical theatre, and design in dramatic, musical, contemporary, or classical theater productions put on by the students. Professional theatre artists from all over the Bay Area serve as judges to provide feedback and support for the students' work.
Three top awards are given to high schools with the most points scored: the Festival Sweepstakes for the highest cumulative score, the Judges Sweepstakes for the highest scored single performance, and the Tech Sweepstakes for the highest total score for tech and design. The Festival Sweepstakes went to Marin School of the Arts; the Judges award to Lowell High School from San Francisco; and the Tech Sweepstakes went to Oakland School of the Arts.
According to Festival organizer and faculty member Michael Navarra, "The Festival is a magical two day experience, and Ohlone College is proud to support the next generation of theatre artists!"