Winners of the Mississippi Theatre Association's 48th Annual North Mississippi High School Drama Fest are being announced.
The top winners--Starkville, Corinth and Oxford high schools, and Union County Schools--received trophies and now advance to the state competition in January at Mississippi University for Women.
Some 600 students from 20 schools took part in the competition held recently on the Mississippi State University campus. Sixteen schools participated, while four schools came to observe.
While they did not write the one-act plays, the students did design and create the scenery and costumes, along with help from parents and others. Members from each school also completed technical walk-throughs and ran their own lighting and sound systems during the maximum 45-minute performances.
After completing its performance, each group received feedback from the judging team, which this year included Chris Roebusck of Jackson's New Stage Theatre, Alison Stafford of Hinds Community College and Larry Mullican, a retired University of Southern Mississippi professor.
"Theatre is important, because it's the way we learn how to deal with our world," said MSU communication instructor Jo Durst, who coordinated the event with associate professor Wayne Durst.
"We do make-believe; we act out characters and situations, and when children are allowed to do this, their performance in school is increased," she added.
Individual and other awards from the competition included (by school):
ACTOR'S PLAYHOUSE (Pearl)--Trisdon Runnels, All Star Cast; Makeup Award.
ALCORN CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL--Katie Inman, All Star Cast; Technical Achievement Award.
CORINTH HIGH SCHOOL--Neal Lancaster, All Star Cast; Maty Noyes, Original Music Award; Scenic Design Award.
HERNANDO HIGH SCHOOL--Taylor Smith, All Star Cast.
JACKSON PREPARATORY SCHOOL--Jesse Cox, All Star Cast; Elizabeth Thiel, Best Actress.
LAFAYETTE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL--Elijah Brown, All Star Cast.
LOUISVILLE HIGH SCHOOL--Dominique Woodward, All Star Cast.
MERIDIAN HIGH SCHOOL--Alex Ricks, All Star Cast.
MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL FOR MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE--Justin Brooks, All Star Cast.
NANIH WAIYA ATTENDANCE CENTER--Jacob Hemphill, All Star Cast; Dirty Laundry Award (for props).
OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL--Meridith Brown, Best Supporting Actress Award; John Davenport, Best Director Award; Connor Davis and Jake Robinson, All Star Cast; Best Ensemble Award.
STARKVILLE ACADEMY--Wrishi Bandyotpadhay, All Star Cast.
STARKVILLE HIGH SCHOOL--Steve Jones, Akane Little, Aundreunna McClain, Aaron Remotigue, and Lacy Claire Whitten, Physical Acting Award (collectively); Kate Hughes, All Star Cast.
TISHOMINGO COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL-- Kimberly Weeks, All Star Cast; Overall Theatrical Experience Award.
UNION COUNTY SCHOOLS--Landon Noltan, Best Supporting Actor Award; Drew Warford, Best Actor Award.
YAZOO CITY HIGH SCHOOL--William Clark, All Star Cast; Festival Spirit Award.