AHS Theatre: Achievements and Accolades despite no Audience


Theatre thrives off of personal interaction. The pandemic has recently made that personal interaction incredibly hard. The safety of people comes first, but drama kids everywhere have been finding ways to continue their pursuit for the connection that theatre gives. Recently, at Ashland High School, drama kids are taking new steps to continue their craft.

One of the things that Ashland High School theatre has been offering recently is workshops. The drama students have been eating up these opportunities to act and hone their skills. Now a master class is in progress, hosted by Jonathan Luke Stevens, a frequent actor at OSF. He is meeting with students in the Ashland High Theatre to work with their singing skills. Each student picked a song to work on at the beginning of the class and will continue to work on it throughout. Keagen Brooks-Torres has been a part of Ashland High’s theatre program since her 9th grade year and is one of the students who is currently attending the masterclass program. Brooks-Torres chose If You Hadn’t But You Did from the 1950s Broadway musical Two On The Aisle. The class is specifically working on how to tune into the emotion actors put into their voice and how to not let their tuning overtake their acting while doing musical theatre. Brooks-Torres notes, “Betsy Bishop (head of the theatre department) would always say, ‘it’s an acting competition, not a singing competition.’” The theatre is also not shying away from acting competitions in the slightest. Many of the students in this master class were also in the Zoom play done earlier this year- Clue. The drama students’ rendition of Clue was entered into the state acting competition and is now going to internationals! See below for all of this year’s theatre accolades.

Theatre has many subsets and in those subsets there are many different reasons why someone would want to continue or start drama work. Brooks-Torres is fueled by the promise of incoming students. “We have such a wonderful group of Freshman coming into the theatre. And really seeing that is something that makes me want to stay involved.” Even if Covid restrictions keep people from live theatre, the theatre still lives. “However we’re able to continue doing theatre, ultimately the joy is not gone from it,” adds Brooks-Torres.

With the theatre continuing as best as it can right now, and whether actors find themselves on the stage or on the laptop screen of Zoom, there is always plenty to do. Brooks-Torres acknowledges the important work of the techies during this year of rapidly changing technological needs. Techies are learning their cues, programming lights, and finding new ways to repair a waistband while actors have songs to practice, monologues to memorize, and accents to study; theatre kids are preparing for their comeback and when the curtain finally does open, the comeback will be well-rehearsed.

2020-21 Theatre Accolades

  1. AHS Theatre will be featured at the Virtual International Thespian Festival 2021. Our production of CLUE was chosen among the top 6 scorers and will be showcased from June 22 – July 22 online.
  2. HONOR TROUPE awarded to Ashland High School Theatre at the Virtual Oregon Thespian State Festival 2021 in April as the only honor troupe this year in Oregon.
  3. Allie Poole won State Finalist in Solo Acting.
  4. Secoya Joaquin won First Place at State Festival for his 5-minute film “Quicksand.
  5. Mila Robertson won Finalist in Solo Ensemble Italian Art Song.
  6. Sarah Daley and Lillian Whittle won Finalist at the State Festival for their 5-minute film, “Double Accentrically.” They also won at AIFF as a finalist for the same film.
  7. Secoya Joaquin won first place at Ashland Independent Film Festival for another 5 minute animation, “The Little Mouse.”
  8. Rachel Davis won finalist at Ashland Independent Film Festival for her 5 minute stop-action film “Colorful.”

Thespian Regional Acting Competition:

  1. Brooklyn Williams – State Qualifier in Solo Musical.
  2. Parker Greaves – State Qualifier in Solo Musical.
  3. Alison Avery – Regional Finalist in Solo Acting

Canceled in March 2020 due to Covid:

  1. Duo Singing by Allie Poole and Brooklyn Willaims “End of the Line” – State Qualifier
  2. Fall musical, Urinetown, was about to showcase for 1400 thespians at Oregon State Thespian Festival, which was canceled.