Greensboro, NC (March 7, 2016) – The largest and most active regional theatre organization in the United States, the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), invites theatre lovers of all kinds — actors, singers, dancers, designers, technicians, stage managers, directors, playwrights, teachers, students, professionals, academicians, etc. — to gather together annually in celebration of the art of theatre. The 2016 SETC Convention, held March 2-6, 2016 in Greensboro, NC, brought the theatre community together for three and a half days of workshops, keynotes, performance festivals, auditions, college recruiting, job interviews, and more.
Each year, High schools who have won state competitions perform at SETC for the regional title. Over the past weekend the two winning productions from each of the 10 SETC member states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) competed in the High School Theatre Festival at Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC, at the 67th annual SETC Convention.
Virginia champions, Rock Ridge High School (RRHS), performed their outstanding production of “Ernest and the Pale Moon” by Oliver Lansley and directed by Anthony Cimino-Johnson to be crowned the High School Grand Champion, the second time that a High School troupe from Loudoun County has won the Festival. Loudoun County High School previously won the Festival in 2000.
Rock Ridge Performing Arts (RRPA) competed against more than 50 schools in Fall 2015 to win the Virginia championship. Troupes from the other competing states did likewise – with the 20 performing troupes having competed against a total of more than 1,000 other schools — making this competition one of the most competitive in quantity of competing troupes and quality of performances. Thus, to be named “Grand Champion” of the entire festival for “Ernest and the Pale Moon” is truly an incredible honor.
RRHS Drama Teacher/Artistic Director, Anthony Cimino-Johnson, praised all participating high school troupes, saying, “Working with the students and the community of RRHS has been an incredible dream. Determined, disciplined, and creative, these students have overcome adversity to rise above challenges with humility and grace. At RRHS, we are doing more than just teaching theatre. We are guiding and mentoring the next generation of leaders, visionaries, dreamers and humanitarians by creating a safe space where students can express themselves and develop skill sets that will stay with them for a lifetime. We are honored to receive the prestigious awards from the South Eastern Theatre Conference, and humbly share this award with EVERY Theatre Teacher in our country who changes lives. ‘Changing lives and building futures, it’s more than a show.’
In addition to winning the SETC High School Theatre Festival competition, RRPA students also auditioned for colleges, attended workshops, and networked with more than 4,000 participants. It was quite a weekend!
Additional recognition and kudos received include:
- Juniors received over 500 call backs for college auditions. The RRPA average for our school was 22 call backs per auditioning student – nearly 4 times the overall average!
- RRPA students received more than $250,000 worth of scholarship offers this weekend if students choose to go to the school.
- All Star Cast Awards: Hailey Brunson, Andrea Arias, Lucky Vemuri, and Crystal Claros.
- Best Sound Design by Delaney Keller, Darya Temeemi, and Deirdre Price.
- Best Overall Technical Experience from a production.
Mr. Cimino-Johnson gives a special shout out to Loudoun County Public Schools, for its continued support and for providing the students, culture, and schools enabling them to flourish in their drama and artistic passions!
Written by Matt Price
Special to Viva Loudoun