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Taft Today

Taft Today

Chicago Youth Theatre Festival

The eighth Annual Chicago Youth TheatreFest will bring together students from different CPS schools to perform and observe theater works and give students opportunities for theater in the future. It will be held Feb 17 at Northeastern.

“The Chicago Youth Theatre Festival was formed by several theater teachers a few years ago as an outlet for students,” said Drama Teacher and Taft Drama Club Co-Sponsor Bryan Wilson. Each year a different college hosts the competition. This year it will return to Northeastern. 

The Chicago Youth Theatre Festival also has a middle school division, however it has been more difficult to involve the Academic Center. “It’s hard putting a team together,” said Wilson.

There are three or four categories. Each student can compete in up to two categories. They divide up the day into three blocks of time where students are either competing or doing workshops. “They’ve done movement workshops, improv stuff, tech theater…They might also do a tour of the campus,” said Wilson.

About five to six students from Taft will be participating. “I plan on competing in the Monologue and Two-Person scene categories,” said Taft senior Matthew Gibson-Pometta. “I had a piece I enjoyed and wanted to put out there… then a friend of mine came up with the idea of a two-person scene and I jumped at that chance.”

After the initial rounds of competition, they bring everyone together and have the finalists for each of the high school divisions to present the finals. The winners from the middle school divisions also present their pieces. Anywhere between six and twelve schools participate.

“They did prizes for the school in 2019, but in general it has been just doing well,” said Wilson. “Competition in theater… it really doesn’t make a lot of sense because so much of it is subjective, however it is nice to win.”

Despite not receiving much of a physical prize, students still have much incentive to participate and compete. “Any chance that you have for presenting a finished performance is good,” said Wilson. “It is a great way to focus on doing scene work with someone.”

The event can bring an abundance of opportunities to those participating. “Winning would look pretty cool on a resume. I myself am passionately pursuing theatre as a career, and hope that going to this festival will make a good impact,” said Gibson-Pometta.

It gives students an opportunity to share their work and meet with others with a similar passion. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet and connect with other talented performers from various schools,” said Gibson-Pometta. “It’s going to be incredible to witness everyone bringing their A-game and showcasing their best in this competition.”

The Chicago Youth Theatrefest will bring students from all over Chicago to share their pieces. “Theater is more about building community.” “Students can share their approach and get different perspectives on their performance,” said Wilson.

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Simon Czarnota
Simon Czarnota, Reporter