Arlington theater students join International Thespian Society

Arlington High School theater students prepare to perform a skit about high school stereotypes at their school
Arlington High School theater students prepare to perform a skit about high school stereotypes at their school's assembly in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Ruth Milner.

ARLINGTON — Arlington High School theater students were afforded an opportunity to perform on a broader stage last month, when they joined fellow theater students from across western Washington to take part in the International Thespian Society District Festival.

"This is Arlington's first year as an official chapter of the Society," said AHS Drama Department teacher Scott Moberly. "Our membership in the Society will give students who are passionate about theater another avenue to pursue their interests."

Moberly described the International Thespian Society as combining "the rigor of an honor society with varsity level competitive achievement" for students who love all aspects of theater.

"I believe so strongly in the benefits that the arts provide to students, and to society in general, that I really want to grow opportunities for theater in Arlington," Moberly said. "Many of my drama students also compete in sports, but for those who don't, membership in the Society will provide a place to showcase their talents in a competitive atmosphere."

This year's District competition took place Jan. 8 at Bellevue College, with five AHS students competing in the monologue category.

"We've never gone to an event like this before, so our main goal was to see how the more-experienced schools did things and learn for next year," AHS junior Josiah Miller said. "Next year, our goal will be to win."

"We focused on one category this year so we didn't get overwhelmed," fellow AHS junior Lexi Lewis added. "But there are lots of categories we can enter in the future, and I think we can do really well."

Founded in 1929, the International Thespian Society is open to high school students who qualify for entry based on points earned through participation in theater activities. There are more than 3,900 active chapters, based primarily in schools in the United States and Canada.

Caroline Rensel, this year's AHS Chapter president, said she was eager to become a member so that she could increase AHS Drama Department participation in school activities.

"International Thespians encourage students to give their time and talents to benefit the community," Rensel said. "So for our school's Martin Luther King Day assembly, we performed a satirical skit about high school stereotypes. Our goal was to entertain our peers and point out how restricting and potentially damaging putting each other into social boxes can be."

"Students can earn points toward induction into the Society by helping out with children's productions," Moberly said. "I'm looking forward to some great interactions between my students and younger children in our community."

The Arlington High School theater students' induction into the International Thespian Society is scheduled for Feb. 10 at 2:45 p.m. in the Linda M. Byrnes Performing Arts Center.

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