PHS student places at state theater festival

Published 4:40 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

PELHAM – The skills of nine Pelham High School theater students were put to the test when they travelled to Troy University to participate in the 2018 Trumbauer State Festival in late November.

PHS theater teacher Melissa Bailey said students had to qualify in one of 28 categories to attend the festival. Of the 12 students who auditioned, nine qualified. Those students were: Louis Smith, Jared Franco, Shelby Kendall, Ramsey Thrash, Lupita Aguilar, Mackenzie Rollins, Isaura Hernandez, Sarah Rollins and Abraham Villasenor.

Bailey said each of the students received superior rankings and one student, Smith, placed second in the varsity set design category. Smith, a senior, was judged on his set design for the PHS production “These Shining Lives,” which was performed in the fall.

He submitted pictures, a designer’s brief, a price list and built a miniature replica set. This year marked the third time Smith competed in set design. Last year he competed as a novice and won first place. This year he transitioned to the varsity level of competition.

Bailey said students attend the festival every year and it’s always a great experience for them.

“They get to meet kids from throughout the state who feel the same way about theater as they do,” she said. “It gives them more exposure to the world of theater and it’s nonstop from the moment they get there until when they leave the campus. They love it.”

During the festival students get to participate in a variety of individual events and main events, all of which are graded. Bailey said the healthy competition gives them something to work and strive for.

“They always come back really pumped and ready to work on the next project, which will be Legally Blonde,” Bailey said.

Although Smith plans to attend UAB studying visual forensics in the fall, he said he’ll probably continue working in theater on set designs as a hobby. What he’ll miss most about the school’s theater program is the family atmosphere.

“If I asked anyone of them to do something for me, they would do it,” Smith said. “We all have the same goal of making the production the best that it can be. It’s kind of funny because I almost missed out on this experience. When I first started high school, I wasn’t going to take theater, but some of my friends were taking it and they convinced me to sign up for it. I really thought I would be shooting myself in the foot because I was really shy, but it broke me out of my shell.”

Smith said he will be leaving the program having learned very important lessons. Number one, always check your measurements twice. Number two, sometimes you’re not always right, and “that’s a big one,” he said. And finally, always work together. “If you don’t, you’ll be up the creek really quick,” he added.