2016 Leadership Conference


It has become a tradition in our WG Drama Department to attend the MO Thespians Leadership Conference every Sept with the officers in Troupe 191. It's a wonderful opportunity to start the year with new ideas and a fresh perspective, and to get around other troupes to talk shop.

                     Link to the MO Thespians website: http://www.mo-thespians.com/

                  This is the itinerary for the weekend's activities and it was pretty packed!


It takes us about 2 hours get from St Louis to Jeff City and depending on the number of officers that attend, we rent a van if needed. This year we took seven officers and we definitely needed the van (it was still tight). We listen to music, talk about our season of shows (which are still being determined at this time), we talk about possible student projects, class projects, ticket swaps with other schools, and we talk about fundraising projects.

This year we had some amazing cookies made by Mrs. Williams, and they were absolutely delicious!

The ride up is always fun! 
Joe, Hannah and Kate kicking back and enjoying the Missouri views.

We've arrived!

This particular conference is always held in Jefferson City, MO at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. It is right near our State Capital and the scenic views are wonderful.

The hotel is lovely and has plenty of space for the students to teach workshops, attend general sessions and mingle with other student thespian officers from around the state. We also get a discount on the room rates.

                                           Selfie in the van...no worries, we weren't driving 

             The 2016/2017 WG Drama - Troupe 191 Officers

This year we took 7 students to the conference. That is the most we have ever taken. We have several senior officers this year and we thought that it would help get next year's officer's ready to run the board when they take over in 2017.

Everybody has a job to do, 
and this conference can help find better ways to do it!

Everyone is given a focus and job to concentrate on in our board and as we get into the season we always find new things to get done. The officers are there to take on the administrative duties/work for the entire troupe. Right now our roster has over a 100 students who have been involved with us in one way or another (in our main stage shows, one acts, or side stage projects) Everyone is asked to help work our fundraisers in the Fall.

(back)Tea Gardner, Loren Kahrhoff, Kate Becker, Hannah Leatherbarrow, Joe Castleman, 
(front row) Jacob Noce and Elliot Williams

Our team is strong this year and we're very excited to learn all about the exciting details of the upcoming State Conf and how we can better lead our troupe during the school year.

WG Drama always finds new stuff to try out from this weekend. The officers inevitably bring back new creative fundraising and community service ideas.

                  Our troupe attending one of the great workshops offered at the conference

The conference offered workshops on a lot of different topics

Leadership is always the focus, but we also had meetings that covered the details for IE events, IMPROV team, Tech Challenge and other stuff to help prepare the troupes for various competitions at State. (Which will be back in downtown St Louis this year)

We like the competitions at State and they are a nice way for members of our troupe to challenge themselves in preparing polished work to perform, create designs to present, or to help prep for the various tournament style games. 

It was a very packed two days. We not only were attending the workshops, but our STO - Jacob Noce also taught several workshops.

Jacob is currently on the 2016/2017 Student Officer Board with the MO Chapter and has many responsibilities during the two conferences. This is the third year in a row we have been holding a seat on the various student boards in our state and nationally. 

Our previous chapter director (Debbie Corbin) is also now on the National EdTA Adult Board which is always nice.

Jacob with the other 2016/17 STOs and Mr. Rackers (Sponsor) who is in charge 
of getting the officers on track with their responsibilities. 

The workshops Jacob prepared for this year were informational and fun! He held a workshop on starting a Student One Act Festival, "How to be a leader", and what to do to help increase your troupe's media presence through the internet, using blog pages, ad sales and utilizing other great phone apps. 

Kate Becker and Hannah Leatherbarrow showing how you can make cool things to share with your troupe members to help build community.

              Jacob also hosted 
       an awesome session of KARAOKE!!!

Here are some of our officers doing some late night karaoke at Jacob's final workshop on Friday night that was well attended with some great singers!

Other great activities that went over well...

The Decorate a Duck Project!

          Loren's duck!                      A great way to raise money!

There was a lot of talk about community service and fundraising. Several of the sessions were dedicated to this event called "decorating a duck" and the money the students spent on buying a duck to paint went to the "Send a Troupe" campaign.


The workshops were packed and the STO's prepared lots of great info to share. Mr. Schaefer helped share out some of the benefits of a One Act Fest of student work in one of Jacob's Sat workshops.

STO (State Thespian Officer) Elect

We are on a roll! We had yet another student in our troupe who was up for a position on the STO board. Elliot Williams sent in his application, attended interviews during the summer in Jeff City, and was selected as a finalist.

He then had to attend with us to hold a Q & A in one of the workshop sessions and he also had to deliver a prepared speech in front of the whole conference on Sat.  

Elliot spoke last and impressed the crowd with his very professional and diplomatic approach. 

His speech was extremely prepared, well rehearsed and touched on some very important issues. He got us to laugh at our mistakes (lol - our star: the moon from Hamlet). He talked to us and not at us.

The students at the conference were inspired by Elliot's words and he was elected to be one of next year's STOs. He was given his sash to wear for some pics and will now be mentored by our very own Jacob Noce.

Elliot will be attending State in Jan 2017, and he will also be attending the ITF (the International Thespian Conference in Lincoln, NE) for free in June of 2017.

The 2016/2017 STOs and the STO elects


We are provided with a lunch and this year is was a delicious ravioli, bread and green beans. There is plenty of lemonade and a fabulous dessert. There seems to always someone in our troupe that can eat plenty of leftovers. We all had seconds on dessert.

Here is part of the troupe finishing up and prep'n for the 2nd half of the day on Sat.

We were encouraged throughout the conference to mingle and get to know other troupes. It was opportunity for the students and teachers to talk about other people's programs and to talk shop. These gatherings are special and allow us to recognize some of the things we may be taking for granted. Our department has a wonderful facility and in talking with other troupes we can quickly see that many schools do their shows in very simple settings.

Friday night is a bit lighter and we were offered a simple taco bar that did just fine to fill us up for the night. We also had donuts and OJ Sat morning that Mr. Schaefer went and picked up for breakfast. 

The last general session is packed full of info. We selected our T-shirt design for State (unfortunately Natalia Sauer's design didn't get picked - we all liked it alot)

We also were told the guest "keynote" speaker for this year and it is the actor Ben Jeffery who plays Pumba in The Lion King on Broadway? We think that is what they said...That's cool! 

At the final general session


It has been our luck that the Jeff City holds a Jazz Fest and chalk-art competition every year on the same Saturday afternoon we finish our conference. 

The CHALK  Art Festival

We have attended and looked at the chalk art two years in a row  

It rained like cats and dogs all Friday night, but just like the previous year... it was a beautiful day on Saturday. 

After the conference the officers always need to get outside a bit. They love to see the various chalk art designs, walk the historic street near the capital, look at the retro buildings and eat the freshly popped caramel corn. Makes for a great cap to the Jeff City visit.


We usually get back on the road around 5:00pm and we stop for Denny's before getting back onto highway 70. This year was no exception...the restuarant had ven had a complete renovation since our last visit. The food's the same...it's Denny's. 

                          Don't forget the broccoli cheddar soup!!! It's the Sat-Sun soup! 

            Mr. Schaefer was surprised to hear it was his b-day and the kids even sang, 
                                                      but alas no dessert was delivered!

             The ride home is fun and we always have so much to share out about the conference and lots to look forward to in the year ahead. Learning how to be a good leader is tough, and being open to other people's ideas is the first step. This was a wonderful opportunity for Troupe 191 and we look forward to the upcoming State Conference. 

Future STO Elliot ponders his role as a leader for the MO Thespians 
as we leave yet another great conference behind...

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