Schools across the state selected to perform at 43rd Annual Illinois High School Theatre Festival

The 43rd annual Illinois High School Theatre Festival, with the theme, "The Power of Transformation," recently announced the full-length and showcase productions.

The 2018 Illinois High School Theatre Festival, the largest and oldest noncompetitive high school theater festival in the nation, is proud to announce the slate of full-length and showcase productions that have been selected to appear at this year's festival:

Full-length productions

• Antioch High School: "The Crucible" ;

• Belvidere High School: "Leaving Iowa";

• Harrisburg High School: "Seussical the Musical TYA" ;

• Lake Park High School: "Close Ties" ;

• Maine South High School: "Noises Off!";

• Niles West High School: "White Guy on the Bus" ;

• Normal West High School: "The Laramie Project";

• Rockford Lutheran School: "Magic: A Fantastic Comedy";

• Wauconda High School: "All Shook Up";

• West Chicago High School: "We Will Rock You - School Edition";

• Huntley High School: "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)"

Showcase productions;

• Belvidere North High School: "Sixteen in 10 Minutes or Less" ;

• Homewood-Flossmoor High School: "14 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview" ;

• Keith Country Day School: "No One Wants to Know" ;

• King College Prep: "The Taming of the Shrew" ;

• Lincoln Park High School: "Sorry";

• Taft High School: "The Trojan Women" ;

• Vernon Hills High School: "'08"

The Illinois High School Theatre Festival strives to showcase student performances from throughout the state. To achieve this goal, two or three theater educators (responders) view a submitted production. Following the performance, a discussion is held with the cast and crew where they can ask questions of the responders. The responders may also state their opinions and give suggestions. The 30-minute discussion is an amazing learning experience for all. After the performance, the responders complete a written critique/recommendation form, which is submitted to the Play Selection Committee, who makes the final decision.

About the Illinois High School Theatre Festival

Now in its 43rd consecutive year, the Illinois High School Theatre Festival (IHSTF) is the largest and oldest noncompetitive high school theater festival in the world. Over 4,500 students, teachers, university representatives, exhibitors, and volunteers come together to put on theatrical workshops and various high school productions. The IHSTF organizes over 150 workshops, whose topics range from acting, musical theater, auditions, improvisation, technical theater, directing, stage management, makeup and costumes, lighting and special effects, to name a few. In addition, more than 20 high school productions, both showcases and full-length, from around the state are selected to perform at the IHSTF each year.

This year's Festival, themed "The Power of Transformation" is led by IHSTF Executive Director Nathaniel Haywood (Downers Grove North HS) and features the Broadway smash hit of "Big Fish" as its All-State production. The All-State cast, crew, and pit orchestra is comprised of the top student performers, technicians, and musicians in the state of Illinois. "Big Fish" will be performed throughout the festival.

On the first night of the festival, participants attend the much-anticipated opening performance with a guest artist or troupe. This year's opening features Visceral Dance. Past opening ceremonies have included Broadway's Seth Rudetsky, Wilson Heredia, Tyce Green, Chicago's Second City, The Neo-Futurists, and many others.

Another highlight of the IHSTF includes the college/university auditions and technical portfolio presentations for high school juniors and seniors. Students who plan to pursue theater or musical theater in college may audition/interview for theatrical programs in and around the state of Illinois. In the past, there have been over 35 colleges/universities in attendance.

Over the main two days of the festival, attendees will see and participate in different sets of workshops, student showcases, high school productions, and various social activities, plus the All-State Production of "Big Fish."

The three-day festival takes place every year in early January and switches locations between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University. Illinois State University will host the 2018 Festival from Thursday, Jan. 11 to Saturday, Jan. 13.

The IHSTF 2018 Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, and corporate donations or in-kind services. Each year contributions are made to the Julie Anne Nelson Memorial Fund, which provides overall support for the Festival and scholarships to schools in need of financial assistance, and the Clif Aldridge Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to All-State Company members.

For information about how to make a contribution, contact Aimee-Lynn Newlan, executive director, at or call the Illinois Theatre Association office at (312) 265-5922.

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