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A 24-Hour Theater Festival??? How Does That Work?

The challenge: Students have just 24 hours to write, direct, and stage the premiere of several short plays. The result: An inspiring exhibition of student voices, full of student voice and heart.

After reading an article this summer and attending a theater workshop, I was inspired to put this challenge to my theater classes. What do you think about having a 24-hour theater festival? They jumped on board immediately!

Concordia will host our first 24-Hour Theater Festival on February 8 and 9. Students throughout the school will be encouraged to take part in this event. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:

Students will receive a survey asking them if they would like to take part in this, and if so, in what capacity. We need playwrights, directors, actors, costumers, makeup artists, sound and light technicians and stage managers. Once those roles have been decided the night proceeds as follows.

Hour 1: 7:00 p.m., Friday - Playwrights gather and, with the limited guidance of English and Theater teachers, begin to write their shows. They will brainstorm, write and rewrite.

Hour 5: Midnight, Friday - Playwrights gather together and read their plays to each other. They receive constructive suggestions from both students and adults. They then return to the drawing table and complete their final drafts by 7:00 a.m. Once finished, they can nap until the next group arrives.

Hour 12: 7:00 a.m., Saturday - Scripts are copied and directors arrive. There is a final read-through and then the playwrights pass off their plays to the directors, and go home to get some sleep. Directors now cast their shows. No auditions are held; decisions are made based on the students who were “cast” as actors. Actors arrive at 9:00 a.m. to begin their work.

Hour 18: 1:00 p.m., Saturday - Rehearsals are in full blast, actors are memorizing lines, sets are being designed, props being found and scrounged, and lights/sound are being adjusted.

Hour 20: 4:00 p.m., Saturday - Each show gets 30 minutes of tech time on the stage. Lots happens between now and show time!

Hour 24: 7:00 p.m., Saturday - The house lights dim and the audience arrives to enjoy the wonderful productions which, a mere 24 hours ago, didn’t exist.

This is something new for us and I am praying that we have a successful enough go with this to make it worth pursuing again and again. Please help encourage your child to be a part of this and please join us for the performance! I am praying this will be a great opportunity and learning experience for all involved!

Chris Murphy,
Director of Theatrical Arts