Cast of Athens High School's "The Diary of Anne Frank"
The cast of Athens High School’s “The Diary of Anne Frank”

AHS Drama Club to Perform at State Thespian Conference

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For the first time in 20 years, a cast from the Athens High School Drama Club has been invited to perform in the featured performance category at the Ohio Educational Theatre Association’s State Thespian Conference, scheduled for March 27-29 at Bexley High School.

Bexley is a suburb of Columbus.

The cast of the club’s fall production of The Diary of Anne Frank will perform to an audience of their peers and the show will be judged by the conference leadership.

The club’s performance at the conference will also mark the 50-year anniversary of the Thespian charter at AHS.

Currently, the drama club has about 90 members, making it one of the most popular extracurricular student organizations at AHS, according to Carol Patterson, club advisor and director of the theater program at the school.

The Diary of Anne Frank cast will perform for its largest audience to date, Patterson said.

“The invitation (to the state association thespian conference) said the audience will number 400 to 900 people, depending on the theater in which we play. In Athens, our total attendance (when the club performed “The Diary Of Anne Frank” last fall) was around 400. Taking a show of this magnitude requires a huge coordinated effort,” Patterson added.

Nearly 50 attendees will participate in the process of putting up the set, preparing lights and sound, organizing costumes and props and readying the cast for the performance, all in one hour.

“The cast and crew are immensely proud to present the moving story of Anne Frank and to share their commitment with Ohio thespians,” Patterson said.

Several elements contributed to the show being chosen for the state featured performance, according to David Hanning, AHS principal.

“I think it’s a combination of student talent, the high-quality direction and the nature of the story,” he said. “When you look at The Diary of Anne Frank, it speaks to teenagers. Something that illustrates that emotion is pretty dramatic. The students have done a great job with reflecting what the story is about. It’s just another area where Athens students excel,” he said.

As a celebration of the recent announcement, the AHS drama club will again perform The Diary of Anne Frank on March 25 at 7 p.m. at AHS. Tickets are $5.

Two years ago, the cast of the club’s production of Tom Jones was invited to the state thespian conference to perform a one-hour performance, according to Patterson.

Last year, the club was not invited to perform at the conference, but instead traveled with a student-written one-act play, performing for about 60 students from across the state.

The club performed You Can’t Take It With You at the 2004 state conference.

The association’s annual conference hosts more than 1,500 theater students and teachers who have the opportunity to see some of the best high school productions in the state, learn more about their craft through performances and technical workshops and compete for scholarships and awards, according to the association’s website.