NEWS: Kansas Thespian Festival

Improvisation team takes first at annual state-wide Thespian Festival


Maddie McIntire

Senior Lily Otter smiles while performing on stage at an improvisation show. Otter and her fellow teammates prepared for the festival by using their shows in the black box theatre as a learning experience

Lilly Wall

The competitive improvisation [improv] team traveled to Wichita and took first place at the Kansas Thespian Festival Jan. 5-7. Additionally, the theatre department extended their success, receiving a Gold Honor troupe award which signified the department’s works within the last year including school productions, setcraft, and costume design.

Five out of the 13 member school-wide improv team traveled to compete in the competitive improv category at the festival including: senior Beckett Hutchinson, senior Felix Janzen Chappell, senior Julia Ruddy, sophomore Kiefer Bullock, and senior Lily Otter. 

The team competed in the preliminary round Thursday night, and moved into the finals Friday night. Four members acted out prompts in the final round given by the emcee who played the role as a forgetful storyteller.

“Beckett ended up emcee because the game we played he was better at emceeing that game which ultimately won us the trophy,” Bullock said.

Troupe sponsor and drama teacher Bryce Jones believes the root of the team’s success stems from the team bonding and time committed towards practicing with one another. Leading up to the festival, the team practiced twice a week as well as meeting over winter break to prepare. 

“I would doubt that other teams get together twice a week,” Jones said. “It pays off for them to know each other.”

During the times the team was not competing, they attended various workshops to broaden their skills and bond as a team. 

“We were basically each other’s family for days,” senior Lily Otter said. “We hung out, we spent lunch together, we spent dinner together, we just just bonded so much over those past couple of days.”

Aside from the improv category, there were school entries in categories including musical singing, monologues, sound design, lighting design, and a short film.

Moving forward, Otter hopes to continue moving forward with the team and learn from what they have gained over the weekend.

“We all learn so much from seeing the other improv teams and experiencing it in such a competitive environment was very different than what we’re used to,” Otter said. “We’re gonna come back and try to teach all that we’ve learned.