Theater Spotlight: Mount Vernon Represents on an International Stage

Aug 29, 2018 | All School, Fine Arts, Upper School News

“This experience was life changing. You get to spend an entire week with 2,500 people who are just like you.”
Currently a sophomore, Arden Adams began her journey at Mount Vernon just one year ago, as a freshman. She immediately engaged with the theatre department, earning a role in the 2017-2018 fall play, Magic Paintbrush. Since then, she has appeared in Our Town, and Aladdin, Dual Language Edition
In February, she traveled with 12 Mount Vernon students to Columbus, Georgia where she competed against thousands of students at the Georgia Thespian Convention. This qualified her to compete at the national level in the International Thespian Festival and Conference in June, a first for Mount Vernon.
The International Thespian Festival (ITF) is a week-long immersion in the theatre arts specially for high-achieving middle and high school drama students and their teachers. Setting the standard for participatory educational theatre experiences, ITF broadens horizons, enriches learning, and celebrates the creativity of theatre students and educators.
Arden and Director of Theatre Arts Clark Taylor traveled to The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where she competed against students from across the country, along with others from London, Dubai, and Singapore. During the  week-long festival filled with competitions, performances, and workshops, Arden sang “I Love Play Rehearsal” from the brand new musical (now in previews) Be More Chill. Scoring an “excellent” mark in her category, Musical Theater Solo, she reflects, “This experience was life changing. You get to spend an entire week with 2,500 people who are just like you. Being able to attend workshops and shows, and cheering on other high schoolers to great heights is what theatre is all about. We build each other up instead of tearing people down. You can be a weirdo and you won’t get judged. You can start a conversation with a complete stranger and not be judged. This conference is a week full of laughing, crying, performing, and a whole lot of other things.”
“There was so much to see and do,” Mr Taylor shares. Both he and Arden spent the week absorbing multiple facets of theater, as they watched top High School theater programs perform shows such as Newsies, Freaky Friday, Purple Dreams (a documentary about The Color Purple), Bright Star (by Steve Martin) and other performances that have been recently released for licensing.
The festival also hosts a college audition process that allows students to be seen by dozens of conservatories and schools of theater arts. Additionally, design students can bring their portfolios for costume, set, lighting, and other production arts. Mr. Taylor hopes to “make this a continued tradition for our theater arts program. The experiential and educational opportunities are top-shelf and I could see how enriching it was for the students and will definitely rub off on our students at Mount Vernon.”
We are so proud of Arden and looking forward to more opportunities as our Theatre Program thrives at Mount Vernon.