NRHS theater wins big at state competition

Published 11:37 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

For the fourth year in a row, the Nansemond River High School theater students took home prizes at a statewide theater competition.

Nansemond River students took both first and second places in the state playwriting competition at the Virginia Theatre Association Secondary School Theater Festival in Reston held Oct. 28-30.

The Nansemond River High School theater program took home several awards from the Virginia Theatre Association Secondary School Theater Festival in Reston last month. Pictured are theater teacher Joleen Neighbours, top left corner, with her students.

Harold Hodge Jr. and Jeremy Hoffman took first place in the category, and K.C. Couch landed second place.

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Additionally, Nansemond River’s Christian Ellis and Kasey Furlo were named all-state actors, and the school’s production of “Scapino,” a traditional Italian comedy, received a judge’s award for outstanding ensemble and an honorable mention for the VTA Costume Merit Award for costume design.

At the festival, the students competed against 43 other high school drama programs from across Virginia in various specialties of theater, such as set design and playwriting.

Nansemond River theater students have gone to the competition every year since 2005.

NRHS drama teacher Joleen Neighbours said the students gain invaluable experience from the trip.

“It’s more than just a play competition,” she said. “It’s an amazing experience for them.”

This year, the students held fundraisers, took pledges and put in their own money to afford to travel to the theater festival.

They even held last-minute, donation-only performances of their competition play the week of the festival.

Neighbours said the festival offers the students the chance to meet theater professionals and other students from across the state, and explore colleges with great theater programs.

“It’s really a great networking tool for the students to see what is out there and become better artists,” she said.