Thursday, March 9, 2017
Office of College Advancement
Ohlone College

23-Year-Old Festival Runs from March 17-18

Fremont, CA—As the calendar turns to March, Ohlone College’s campus is overrun with theatrical performers from high schools across the state for two days each spring.

Rehearsal areas flood every open space on campus as the sounds of Shakespeare and Broadway show tunes mix with the application of stage makeup as students prepare for their upcoming shot on stage. 

Entering its 23rd year, the Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival, will take place on March 17-18, and has been held every year by the Ohlone Theatre & Dance Department.
With over 1000 high school students participating from more than 29 different high schools from all around the Bay Area – and as far away as Grass Valley, Hollister, and Los Angeles, the Festival is one of the largest of its kind in California.

“These are the next generation of artists in theatre, dance and film and Ohlone is proud to be able to celebrate and enrich their development,” said Ohlone professor and Festival organizer Michael Navarra.  "I’ve never seen so many young people excited about theatre in one place."

A huge effort is made by many individuals to plan and run the festival.  Support for the High School Theatre Festival requires 40 high school teachers, 100 judges, and 100 Ohlone student and staff coordinators.

“It is incredibly exciting to see the dedication and enthusiasm these young theatre artists bring to their craft,” said Festival Coordinator Tamara Cooper.

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 school that receives the highest average points per entry, and the Tech Sweepstakes for the highest total score for tech and design.

The festival is designed to encourage young theatre artists developing their craft.  It 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.

For more information about Ohlone College’s High School Theatre Festival contact Festival Coordinator, Tamara Cooper, by email at

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