Troupe 1096 Leaves an Impression


Ana Koshevoy, Web Editor

After a rewarding year for the theatre program at Durango High school, Troupe 1096 continued with their endeavours through the summer. This past June, 14 Troupe 1096 students traveled to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for a week where they connected with thousands of the best high school thespians. There, they auditioned for colleges and competed in individual events in which performers and technicians presented their work .

“ThesCon was basically like being at an audition for three days; I felt I had to be competitive and felt I had to prove myself. At Nationals, I already knew that I was good enough and everyone around me was equally talented and skilled, so Nationals turned out to be more about learning than competing,” said Sr. Tilly Leeder.

Every year at the Thespian Festival, the week begins with an opening show directed by broadway professionals and put on by a cast and crew of high school students from across the nation. This year, thespians celebrated the music of Alan Menken, the man who composed most of the Disney music. Two students from DHS, graduate Elise Christiansen and Sr. Ana Koshevoy, were two of the selected participants.

“It was very special and an experience I will never forget. It gave me insight on what it’s like to be thrown in with a bunch of people you don’t know and have to join together to help create a show in a short amount of time: 48 hours to be exact. We also got to facetime Alan Menken. That was insane,” said Christiansen.

Out of the 14 DHS students that attended, nine competed and seven were awarded with accomplished ratings for their individual events. These seven students include Srs. William Barney, Tilly Leeder and Ana Koshevoy and graduates Elise Christiansen and Rebekah Hwang.

“It felt really great to score accomplished at Nationals. It showed that all my work and time paid off. It also gave me a lot of confidence to continue working hard at becoming a better sound designer,” said Barney.

All 14 thespians competed in an event called Tech Challenge: an optional competition where teams participated in different timed and accuracy graded tasks such as setting props, rope tying and backdrop folding. Senior Mia Irwin won the fastest button sewing and was a part of Christiansen and Koshevoy’s team who won the fastest quick change. The team was later showcased in the closing ceremonies.

“We divided our 14 into two teams of seven. One team was full of techies, which we called the Dark Side, and the other team was mainly actors so we called them the Light Side. The Dark Side placed 11th in the nation out of around 32 teams, so that was really cool,” said Irwin.

Some of the students even auditioned for colleges at the festival. The actors performed in front of a panel of nearly 50 college representatives, while the technicians presented their portfolios and were interviewed individually. The students received many callbacks.

“The callbacks did not surprise me. I was overjoyed that the students were recognized for all of their hard work […] When you have students wanting and willing to learn, they are unstoppable, ” said previous Troupe Director and theatre teacher Kristin Winchester-White.