Everything is Bigger in Texas

By Alex Minton posted 11-24-2014 22:24


I was so honored to attend the Texas Thespian Festival this past weekend in Dallas. With over 5,000 thespians in attendance, this rodeo was one for the record books.

After meeting up with the dedicated Chapter Director, Miss Amy Jordan, and meeting with the fantastic Student State Board (SSB) members it was prep time! I went to the location I knew best--registration. Personally, I love working festival registration booths because it involves organization, interaction, and keeps me on my feet. After a couple hours of stuffing manilla envelopes I had the privilege of bringing to life the 6 foot Texas Thespians mascot... Dusty the duck.

Texas had a unique twist on the infamous duck fundraiser. They called it the duck lottery. Each SSB/ITO had their own themed duck pond (from red carpet to Pokemon, we had a theme for everyone!) Students would then purchase a duck, write their name on the bottom, and set it in their favorite pond. At the end of each day, each SSB would then draw from their pond and hand out a prize to the name they drew. The fundraiser went really well, and all of the money benefited Send a Troupe to Festival.

After a good night's sleep the official day of #ttsf14 began! Another cool idea the SSB came up with where themed days. Thursday's theme was thrift shop, and this thespian popped some serious tags.

After playing games with some Junior Thespians, meeting with the SSB candidates, and giving thanks to the troupe presidents it was time for opening ceremonies. What I enjoyed about their opening ceremonies was the amount of energy. Music was playing, kids were dancing, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. After a smooth introduction, it was time for Mr. Andrew Lippa the composer of Big Fish (which will be Texas' all state show next year) to present his keynote.

Mr. Lippa did an extraordinary job of depicting the life of a performer, and the delegates enjoyed hearing his advice.

Friday's theme was Nerd Day, and the Region III ITO Rachel Gatewood and I got dorky!

A few more highlights from Friday were that over 40 thespians attended our morning leadership workshop titled 'Officer's Unite'. During this session Rachel and I talked specifically how troupe officers can organize and unite their team. Through an Indiana Jones themed Teamwork Pyramid, the attendees learned a lot and discovered how to reach their crystal skull.

We also taught our N.A.P.S workshop in the afternoon and had 66 people take a N.A.P! Rachel and I were blown away by how engaged and quickly Texas Thespians demonstrated our plain and simple advocacy tips.

One of the things the Texas SSB did extremely well was engage thespians. Whether it was through #selfieswithdusty or #selfieswiththeSSB Texas Thespians were constantly receiving tweets and instagram posts from thespians enjoying their day.

Saturday morning was my leadership workshop, and 20 kids discovered their #CORE values when working with a team. I was very impressed with the leadership potential in Texas, and can't wait to see what their future takes them.

A personal highlight of mine was meeting Clements High School, Troupe 3689. During my first month as an ITO I brought back an old trend, #TheatreShirtThursday, back to life through my Twitter. Immediately following that Clements tweeted me week after week with photos of them showing their troupe pride. After communicating with their president and two term SSB ,Sienna and Fran, I discovered they were based in Texas. Meeting them in person was a privilege, their friendship and support are what give my position purpose.
Clement's famous "subtle ugly pose"

During closing ceremonies, Texas Thespians participated in The Lincoln Experience Minute to Give It. This was the first minute of the newly founded campaign and Texas raised $1,350! This donation will benefit the Send A Troupe to Festival campaign, thank you to everyone who donated, your donation helped make a dramatic impact.

Along with Send A Troupe, Texas Thespians raised over $3,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS through a silent auction. Incredible!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in the Lone Star State. They were welcoming, organized, and consistently kept me busy. The SSB were polished and personable towards every thespian. The adult board was organized and attentive, while keeping spirits high throughout the weekend. Thank you to Diane Carr for serving as an excellent EdTA Representative, and to Texas Thespians for allowing me the privilege to attend their large event.

Can't wait to see the Lone Star State in the Midwest this upcoming June!