Thespians impress crowd at The Nebraska State Thespian Festival


Students from Bellevue West’s thespian troupe made a solid appearance at The Nebraska State Thespian Festival Jan. 10 and Jan. 11.

The competition took place at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and involved 23 different schools from across the state.

“It’s really friendly. We talked to everyone that was applying for the thespian scholarship. Everyone talked to each other and hung out before because we were all there to do something we loved,” Shellgren said.

West competed in a multitude of events including monologues, solo vocal performances, improvisation, as well as technical theatre that provided an opportunity for thespian students to shine.

The seniors who participate in theatre have the opportunity to audition for scholarships. Seniors Katy Boone, Clayton Shellgren and Jay Laravie all received superior ratings. Boone and Shellgren both were awarded a $10,000 scholarship to Midlands Lutheran College for theatre and performing arts. The technical team from West won second place.

“[It was the] best, best experience. It was very flattering and it was humbling as well,” senior Katy Boone said.

Boone was also one of four seniors in the state to receive a $500 thespian scholarship to the college of her choice. She would like to study musical theatre which combines theatre and vocal studies.

“I have many more auditions to take care of before I decide on where I’m going,” Boone said.

While it takes hard work and dedication, as Shellgren noted, state theatre is worth the struggle considering after three years of participating in state theatre and receiving few awards, Shellgren was offered a large scholarship because of his unique talent.

“This was my third year going and my first year I did not get anything. This year I put a ton of time into it considering there was money on the line. I started in November with these monologues,” Shellgren said.

State theatre can also qualify students for the International Thespian Festival which will take place June 23-28. Theatre students who receive a score between 90 and 100 get a certificate to nationals.

While the school does not fund students who choose to attend the competition, the festival involves more learning opportunities, chances for scholarships and awards. Boone plans on not participating in the festival because it is so costly, while Shellgren hopes he can make it to Lincoln this summer.

“They’ve never funded it before so why would they fund it now, especially with budget cuts,” Boone said.

Boone and Shellgren are still deciding where to go for college but the generous scholarship from Midlands has forced them to reconsider. Only four $10,000 scholarships were handed out this year.

“[Midlands] wasn’t on my list but after the $10,000 scholarship it kinda puts itself on your list,” Shellgren said.

Bekah Hayes