2017 State Thespian Conference

Once again we attended the festival in our very own Downtown St Louis at the newly renovated Marriott Hotel on Washington Avenue. 

We also used the convention center for shows, eating our meals and attending some of the workshops.


We took 38 kids and spend three days downtown. 


All of the students at conference are required to wear badges

They are a great group of students and they all attended countless workshops on all sorts of theater topics, saw one act plays, and watched competitions 

Jacob Noce speaking with the other STOs at the opening celebration

We were also treated to a great keynote speaker from Lion King on Broadway to kick off the event. 

We saw two main stage productions:

We saw one ALL-STATE show presented by Kids from all over the State. 
Nick Wylie (Junior) was the Assistant Technical Director on the show, and (Alumni '16) Jonah Schnell was the Lighting Assistant. 

They produced a re-imagined Greek play called Iphegenia.

...AND we also saw a wonderful new musical about Edgar Allen Poe called Nevermore.   

                      They both performed in the Ferrar Theater in the convention center

Meredith and Suzanna shared a room.
 The sponsors made the students get up and get going by 8:00 or so every morning...
maybe even a little earlier. 

Staying in the Hotel for a couple of nights with the troupe helps build community and also allows some of these students an opportunity to be away from their parents for a weekend. 

The best part about the conference 
is that is is entirely about being yourself and doing theater.

(From left to right the ones looking at the camera)
Suzzana Kessler, Logan Corzine, Meredith Grimm Howell, 
Loren Karhoff, Liz Gilstrap and J Noce.

We definitely let our freak flags fly!

Aidan Kurtz being Aidan Kurtz...

       There is always a dance on the Friday night of STATE!!! 

(From left to right)Caroline Jordan, Trinity Madison, ???, Meredith Grim-Howell, Rebecca Jackoway, and Suzanna Kessler.                       

The Troupe is lucky to have two dedicated sponsors.  
Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Romanowski.
There is a ton of planning involved in taking this many kids to a STATE Conference.  

              Maggie Pool and Mrs. Romanowski

The teachers spend their time getting to talk with the other teacher in their department about 2nd semester plans, next year seasons, and curriculum. The also meet up with other theater teachers at other school and get to share ideas and tell stories.
Mr. Schaefer and Natalia Sauer


We ate over at the convention center. The food was OK...not great...but just OK. Lots of big tables and we always meet new people from the state during the meals. It is also a great place to scout out the talent that appeared on the main stage.

We also spend time sharing info about workshops and the shows. What workshops are good...which ones to avoid kind of thing.

Yusuf Randolf is a student in our troupe that always knows how to get us to laugh by being goofy!


Troupe 191 has so much to celebrate with this particular trip. We have working very hard as a department to build a competitive group at STATE. We worked on lots of prepared material for performance competitions, scholarship auditions, and college auditions. We also prepared material for design IE's. The troupe assembled and rehearsed an IMPROV Team and a TECH team to compete as well. 

Natalia Sauer (senior) entered a design again this year for the "T-shirt and Program Cover" design competition. 

We vote at leadership every year and the officers decide.

Her design was really great, but unfortunately another design was picked.

We had over 12 kids perform in the Individual Events - performance and design competition. This included events in acting, musical theater, scenic design, costume design, sound design, and stage management. They were all judged and given feedback for their work.


Kate Becker (Junior) and Elliot Williams (Junior) won the highest scores possible for their duet scene from a play titled Three Days of Rain. They received three superior scores from the judges.

They were also honored with the opportunity to perform in front of the whole conference on Sat at the IE SHOWCASE. They were so awesome in the scene and made the troupe very proud!!!

That wasn't all...they also received an invite to Nationals in June. 
Elliot gets to go free as our State Officer. 

Other Drama students will be attending as well. 


(SOLO Acting)
Loren Karhoff (Senior) performed two cuttings in the competition. The first was from Another Antigone and the second was from The Importance of Being Ernest. They were wonderfully different pieces that really showed her range. She did great with both cuttings...just needed to watch the clock. (she went over just 3 sec and was disqualified for nationals)...she plans to perform them again at nationals in June for scholarships.

(GROUP Acting)
Rowan Van Horn (Senior), Tea Gardner (Soph), Yusuf Randolf (Junior), and Meredith Grimm-Howell (Junior) performed a cutting from the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. It was a difficult play and a challenging cutting.

They were all new to the event and they learned a lot. 
The scene played well and the judges gave them great feedback

 (DUET Musical)
Bridget Karhoff and Hannah Leatherbarrow performed a cutting from the musical Next to Normal and did a great job with the piece. They both connected very well in the scene and showed some very nice moment to moment work. Bridget played the mom and Hannah played the daughter.



SET Design
Maggie Pool (Senior) designed the set for the play Mr. Marmalade. She designed the play first in class and then reworked the design for the competition. The event calls for the student to work out several problems that the artist has to solve in production. She did very well.


The play is not to be designed in a realistic sort of way and so Maggie decided to take themes from the play and she began to deconstruct images from those themes.

Then she reassembled them into the living room in a very post-modern sort of way. The end result was original and inventive for the story in that play. Childish and weird all at the same time. The set was perfect for a twisted dark comedy.   

Grey Ferber (Soph) designed some of the costumes for The Little Mermaid. We produced the show and Grey was able to use the experience to recreate the costumes for the competition in her own way. The show inspired her to play a bit with the designs knowing their specific function in the show.


She was required to do multiple renderings, show process, and be able to interview with adult designers answering question about the choices she made in her work

SOUND Design
Sam Toskin designed sound for The Little Mermaid
He engineered a brilliant design for our production and then got to learn how to layout the sound design in a plot for our theater. It was a major learning experience for Sam and he took a lot away with him after it was all done. This was a great opportunity to see how other professionals work and discuss sound design and engineering for the stage.

STAGE Management
Sophia Gotto designed a prompt book and stage managers book for The Little Mermaid
She did a great job with her binders and got the opportunity to run through an interview so that she can play the game next year and know what to expect.

                The interview is the toughest part of the event and preparation is tough.


We not only compete on the creative side of the conference, but we also compete in the leadership opportunites ITS offers the students each year. The 2 year long ambassador program is awesome! ITS gives the students an opportunity to work along side adults on preparing and running a massive theater conference. The students hold elections, speak in front of all of the state's troupe officers, and go through a vote. If a student gets elected and holds an STO (student officer) position for a year they can pick up a lot of valuable skills. 

                                         Jacob Noce realizing that he is a senior this year...

We have learned over the years (with several students from our troupe holding that position on a state and national level) that they get out of it what they put into it... Our kids work very hard and gain a lot of experience from the program.   

Elliot Williams and Jacob Noce

Elliot Williams (Junior) was a STO elect and also helped at the conference, mostly learning the ropes for next year. He was officially made a STATE Officer at  the end of the conference. 
Jacob Noce (senior) represented WG Drama as one of four STATE Officers this year. He helped organize the conference and his other officers. He was amazing! His hard work showed and he made Webster proud.  

FUN FACT: We are the second oldest and active troupe in MO, and we have been holding positions on the State student board for the last several years.



Miles Umbaugh, Ben Hardin, Emma Dowling and Natalia Sauer competed in the Three Day Improv Competition and did very well. ("Top Hat Improv" is our team)

They had to learn 5 games and played three. It is not an easy event, but this group really liked to play.  

Miles Umbaugh and member of another team playing a head to head game called 
"What are you doing?"

Ben Hardin, Natalia Sauer and Emma Dowling wait to go next 

Natalia's turn...

Ben brought the calm and cool focus to the games he played that day!


We had a Tech Challenge Team (Robert Hood, Sophia Gotto, Sam Toskin, and Ethan Ryan) that competed and Sam Toskin (sophomore) placed 2nd in the sound event.

Ethan and Sophia getting pumped!

                            Mrs R and Mr. Schaefer at the entrance to the room...it was crazy in there!

The competition in the technical challenges is fierce, and the students on our team this year came to play some of the events to win, but also to get info to prep for next year. We did very well and the team has a goal to get our title back next year.

Ethan and Sophia on an event...

Sam Toskin on the sound event...

This is his expertise...

He rocks it out!


Hannah Leatherbarrow (senior) competed for the State Thespian Scholarship and won! 

She performed two contrasting monologues for a panel of 20 or more judges from universities all over the country. She received $1000.00 to use toward her theater education. Only four kids won this award.

                                  Hannah got to go up on stage at the showcase to receive her award!

The days fly by and by Sat everyone is tired. We watch the showcase and parents are called to come down and get their tired theater kids.

        Ben takes a nap while he waits

It was a huge success for our troupe!

We stayed present and involved the whole time, the kids had a great time talking shop with all of the theater kids in Missouri, and we made it through without any drama...what a great experience this is for us each and every year! 

Mr. Schaefer waiting in the lobby with Jake Collins and Kate Becker


Troupe 191 would like to thank Jacob Noce for all of his amazing work this year on the conference, working with the other STOs, working for our department, helping Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. R get the troupe registered, collecting forms, getting people pumped to fundraise, organizing the tech in the department, and just being an amazing person. 

You are an asset to any theater 
and Troupe 191 wishes you all of the luck 
on your leadership opportunities of the future. 

We will miss you!
ITS - STO - 2016-2017

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