Bucks County Playhouse Celebrates 55 Years Of The Student Theater Festival This April

Students perform on the historic stage, take workshops to develop their knowledge and skills in the arts and receive feedback from theater professionals.

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This year, Bucks County Playhouse celebrates the 55th Annual Student Theater Festival. The festival performances, which are open to the public, will be held on April 17-20 and April 24-27, 2023.

Originally known as Dramafest for one-act plays, the Student Theater Festival has evolved into a multi-week celebration showcasing talented student performers from all over the region. Students perform on the historic stage, take workshops to develop their knowledge and skills in the arts and receive feedback from theater professionals.

Twenty-two schools from eleven counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will participate. In Pennsylvania from Bucks County: Bucks Learning Cooperative in Langhorne, PA; Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, PA; Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, PA; Solebury School in New Hope, PA; Main Street Theater Company in Yardley, PA; Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown, PA; Central Bucks East in Buckingham, PA and Central Bucks West in Doylestown, PA and from Northampton County: Northampton Area High School from Northampton, PA. In New Jersey from Essex County: Cedar Grove High School in Cedar Grove, NJ; Ocean County: Carl W. Goetz Middle School and Jackson Memorial High School in Jackson, NJ; Morris County: Mount Olive High School in Flanders, NJ; Warren County: Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta, NJ; Hunterdon County: Delaware Valley High School in Frenchtown, NJ and Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, NJ; Passaic County: Passaic Valley Regional High School in Little Falls, NJ; Mercer County: Ewing High School in Ewing Township, NJ; Lawrence High School in Lawrence, NJ; Monmouth County: Rumson Fair-Haven Regional High School in Rumson, NJ and Freehold High School in Freehold, NJ; Lebanon Township: Voorhess High School in Glen Gardner, NJ.

"Being involved in the theater and coming to the playhouse is an incredible morale booster for our young actors. They work very hard and are very proud of what they can accomplish on the stage. When their work is recognized by theater professionals during adjudications, and they receive both constructive and positive feedback from their peers it completes their validation. It also gets them excited about starting the next production," said Gina Chiloan, teacher Neshaminy High School.

For more than half a century, young artists have come to New Hope to present their school productions on the historic stage, adding their names to a long list of extraordinary theater artists who have performed at the Playhouse, including Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Justin Guarini, Jessica Walters, John Tartaglia, Ben Fankhauser, Angela Lansbury and hundreds of other artists.

To celebrate this year's festival, Bucks County Playhouse would like to hear from past participants to help grow the history of this valuable education program. The Playhouse estimates that between 40,000-50,000 students have participated in the Student Theater Festival. While some students went on to pursue careers in theater, others have become TV casting directors, development directors and lawyers as well as a host of other careers, all enhanced by their Student Theater Festival experience. Former Student Theater Festival attendees can visit BucksCountyPlayhouse.org/STF to fill out a quick form about the year they participated, what it meant to them and the impact it had on their career path. These stories will be woven into the fabric of the Playhouse's prolific 85-year history.

"Everywhere I go, I seem to meet someone who has performed at Bucks County Playhouse during our annual Student Theater Festival. I've met people in NYC, Philadelphia, and once waiting to board a plane in Chicago!" says Michaela Murphy, Director of Education. "We love welcoming new students to the festival, by performing with their schools on our historic stage, they become a part of Playhouse history."

For more information on the 2023 Student Theater Festival, visit Click Here.

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