Heathwood’s Upper School drama students exceled at this year’s PDA/SCThespians High School Drama Festival, held February 19-21 at Spartanburg’s Dorman High School.
Twenty Heathwood students traveled to the festival, where they competed against students from 25 public and private schools. Heathwood’s performance of the one-act play “These Shining Lives” was awarded a coveted Superior rating. Several students also won individual awards: Senior Abby Bartman received a Superior rating for individual acting, Senior Sally Wardlaw was named a Superior student director, and Junior Eliza Drake was awarded Honorable Mention in individual acting. Abby Bartman received a Senior Thespian Scholarship Award and Senior Mary Royall Wilgis received a Blair Beasley Scholarship Award.
“I could not be prouder of the cast of ‘These Shining Lives,’” said Heathwood drama teacher EG Engle. “These students put in many hours of work rehearsing staging, creating characters, and analyzing the script to ensure that they told the story of the play as best they could. They put a lot of heart into their performance, and they represented themselves and Heathwood beautifully!”
This year’s cast, Engle added, “particularly the seniors in the cast, are a talented and dedicated group. We chose this play because they valued the quality of the script, and they connected with the characters. They believed that they could tell this story well.”
Heathwood Head of School Chris Hinchey said he was not surprised to learn the students had performed so well in the competition: “I’m incredibly proud of our students! They have been rehearsing near my office for the last month and their dedication and commitment have been humbling. I saw the play on Thursday, and their performance was moving. Additionally, EG Engle, ‘01, is superb, and her ability to guide our thespians through difficult material is impressive.”
Experiences like Drama Festival and the One Act competition, Engle said, give students the opportunity to share their work and love for theatre with other students from around the state. “While they do compete against other schools, they also gain valuable new perspectives about their own work and performances. They also learn how to talk to their peers about their performances and positively critique and analyze their shows. They love meeting theatre students from other schools and connecting with them about favorite shows, monologues, games, and music.”