Last month, students from more than 40 Charles County high schools gathered at the University of Maryland, College Park for the Maryland Thespian Festival, an annual event that celebrates student achievement in theater. The festival featured competitions, one-act performances, and more than 300 workshops led by industry insiders, as well as opportunities for students to audition for college programs.

This year’s festival was a huge success for students from La Plata, Henry E. Lackey, Maurice J. McDonough, North Point and St. Charles high schools. These schools took home numerous awards and accolades throughout the two-day event.

Among the awards presented at the festival was the Distinguished Senior Thespian Award, which acknowledges the contributions a senior has made to both their thespian troupe and school community. Elora Edwards of La Plata and Annie Sullivan of McDonough were named distinguished senior thespians. The La Plata troupe director is Jennifer Joyner. Jana Heyl is McDonough’s troupe director.

The All-State Thespian Award was given to several students, including Annie Sullivan, Skylar Belisle, Emma Curry, Laila Holloway, Naomi James, Olivia Grier, Layla Dodson and Ada Donohue, all of McDonough. La Plata students Elora Edwards, Mackenzie Fox, Thomas Carpenter, Lochlan McGuire, Jada Ferguson, Amy Miller and Chance Hoard also earned the award.

In addition, the Quiz Bowl team from McDonough won this year’s Jeopardy-style competition that tests contestants’ theater knowledge. The team members were Annie Sullivan, Laila Holloway, Joel Escobar, and Brett Wood. St. Charles won the Trash Costumes competition during which teams vie for the largest applause for creating costumes from discarded items. The team was made up of William Bates, Miriah Butler, Kaniece Konan, and Christian Baylor.

Best acting awards in one-act shows went to Annie Sullivan and William Zabriskie of McDonough, and Julian Mode and Curtis Houston of Lackey. During the 2023 One-Act Festival at the event, McDonough earned awards for Outstanding Costumes and Outstanding Production Staff for its one-act, “Puffs (One-Act for Young Wizards).”

Several CCPS students qualified for the International Thespian Excellence Awards, or Thespys, and will move on to the competition at the International Thespian Festival this summer in Bloomington, Ind.

Congratulations to all the Charles County students who participated in this year’s Maryland Thespian Festival and best of luck to those moving on to the International Thespian Festival!

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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