CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Culture Center will set the stage for more than 500 high school students as the West Virginia Division of Culture and History hosts the annual West Virginia State Thespian Festival March 26-28. Drama students will perform, attend workshops and be judged on their theater skills.

The festival begins with registration at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, and ends with an awards ceremony at 2 p.m., on Saturday, March 28. At that time, five outstanding play performances, six scene performances, technical theater winners, an all-state cast and two $1,000 scholarships to individual students from the Educational Theatre Association, parent organization of West Virginia Thespians, will be announced. In addition, scholarship money from state colleges and universities also may be presented to outstanding acting and technical theater students during the ceremony. Other announcements including the Thespian Teacher of the Year will be made during the opening ceremony at 11 a.m., on Thursday.

Twenty-four schools from five areas of the state will participate in the festival. There will be 15 plays and 20 scene entries judged by five guest adjudicators. Twenty-two monologues, 30 musical theater solos, 18 musical theater duets and 15 playwriting entries will be judged. Sixteen theater professionals will provide technical theater adjudications and lead students in workshops.

Technical theater categories include costume design and construction; extraordinary project; lighting design; make-up; mask design; properties, publicity; puppetry; set design; stage management; and tech rodeo. Workshops, held on Thursday and Friday, include “Not Your English Teacher’s Shakespeare,” “Stage Combat 101,” “Michael Chekhov’s Four Brothers,” “Digital Design for Makeup,” “Acting the Classical Scene,” “Auditioning Tips for Success,” “Design/Tech Portfolios,” “Theatre Games” and “State Student Board Leadership Workshop,” among others.

For more information about the 2015 West Virginia State Thespian Festival, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner for the division, at (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.