THS theatre advances to regionals, clinches 29th consecutive district title

The Temple High School theatre program has advanced to regional contest in an abbreviated University Scholastic League one-act play competition. The company is performing scenes from Student Body, by Frank Winters, and has placed first in the district and bi-district contests thus far.

The victory at district contest, on March 13, marked the 29th consecutive district title in Natasha Tolleson’s 30th year as theatre director at Temple High School. This streak of district success is the longest among UIL teams in Temple ISD and among the longest in the state.

 “To consistently be the top production in our UIL district for 29 years is an amazing accomplishment and shows the strength and high level of excellence our theatre program is known for,” said Catrina Lotspeich, director of fine arts for Temple ISD. “Our students and theatre staff work incredibly hard throughout the year — that hard work pays off every year in the UIL one-act play contest.”

Tolleson admits that this has been a very abnormal year but says that this year’s one-act company is simply grateful for the opportunity to compete.

“We’re just happy to be able to perform,” Tolleson said. “Our kids were so excited about their show last year, but after going home for spring break we never came back to school and we never came back to our play.”

The 2020 one-act campaign was cut short due to the pandemic last spring, and abruptly ended just after district contests.

This lost opportunity came on the heels of a top-five finish at the state contest in 2019 — the troupe’s first appearance in 6A competition. However, 18 of the 33 company members from this year’s production are returning from the 2020 campaign for another opportunity to compete at state.

The area round of competition typically follows bi-district, but, in an effort to compress the entire one-act play competition for student safety, only two shows advanced from each bi-district contest and will forgo the area round altogether to advance straight to the regional level.

Temple High School will perform in the regional contest at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 16 at University High School in Waco. This will be the first time these students will have a live audience to perform for in this campaign.