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UMFK preparing to host 2002 regional high school drama festival

February 22, 2002



The University of Maine at Fort Kent is making final preparations to host drama teams from ten Aroostook County school districts at the 2002 regional high school drama festival on March 8 and 9 in the Fox Auditorium.

The annual event, sponsored by the Maine Principals' Association, is designed to showcase the talents of area secondary school students in acting, directing, and other areas of stage production.

Drama teams from Fort Kent to Kathadin, competing in two divisions, will be performing in one-act plays during the two-day festival. Over 200 participating drama students are expected to perform.

The plays, which will include both dramatic and comedic productions, will each be approximately 35 minutes in length. Each team will have an allotted five-minute set-up and five-minute take down period.

A panel of three judges, selected by the Principals' Association, will score each school production on acting, set, costumes, and overall production quality.

The top high school in division I and top two high school teams in division II at the regional level will participate in the state competition, which will be held in Caribou on March 22 and 23 at the Caribou Performing Arts Center.

In addition to overall honors, individual students will be awarded for their performances and stage work.

UMFK's theatre department is looking forward to hosting the event and sees it as an ideal opportunity to showcase the university and its programs to local high school students who will one day become college students.

"Hosting the regional drama festival is an ideal opportunity to show prospective students just what UMFK has to offer. We have a long-standing tradition of strong performing arts programming here. This gives us an opportunity to demonstrate that firsthand," said Wunder.

The theatre department is also working with the university's admissions office in order to attract some of the students attending the drama festival to possibly develop a major in theatre at the St. John Valley campus.

"We are surely looking at a lot of work, however it is good to see that schools in this county are taking an initiative. At UMFK, we unfortunately don't offer a major in theatre and our local students, who show interest in theatre, need to relocate to study. Encouraging this event may reveal interest to support a theatre major," said Wunder. "We are losing potential theatre students in the county to schools we cannot compete with. Hosting events of the such will increase the use of the facility, which may lead to the purchase of updated equipment to offer a more solid program."

This is the first time UMFK will host this event. In the years past, the regional competitions have been hosted at Presque Isle, Caribou, and Limestone High School, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. UMFK hopes to host the event every four years.

The division I participating high schools in this year's regional drama competition are Fort Kent (SAD 27), Caribou, Presque Isle (SAD 1), and Houlton (SAD 29). Teams competing in division II include Wisdom (SAD 33), Madawaska, Van Buren (SAD 24), Limestone/Maine School of Science and Mathematics, Easton, and Kathadin.

Competition productions, which are open to the public, will be held on Friday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 9 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. A $5 admission will be charged for each of the three sessions.

For more information on the regional high school drama festival, contact Wunder at 834-7563.