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December 1, 2016

SVSU to host state festival for high school thespians

Some 1,900 prospective actors and actresses from high schools across the state will spend Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3, in Saginaw as part of an annual Saginaw Valley State University-hosted festival supporting theatre education.

SVSU has hosted the festival for Michigan Thespians, the state affiliate of the Educational Theatre Association, since 2011.

“It’s a great way for these students to see the work of their peers,” said David Rzeszutek, an SVSU associate professor of theatre and one of the festival’s coordinators.

“This might be the first time they’re on a campus setting, and so they might be discovering their future for the first time.”

Students from the Great Lakes Bay Region will attend, as will teenagers from Detroit, Traverse City, Charlevoix, and many other corners of Michigan, Rzeszutek said.

The festival’s opening ceremony kicks off at Temple Theatre in downtown Saginaw Friday at 8:30 a.m. before the group arrives at SVSU at noon. The 2-day slate of activities include workshops, scholarship competitions, and an awards ceremony.

Theatre professionals and representatives from performing arts costume shops expect to attend. SVSU theatre students will be among the festival volunteers.

Admissions representatives from up to 20 colleges and universities — including SVSU — also plan to attend, Rzeszutek said.

The commuting attendees stay overnight in the region’s hotels, boosting the local economy.

“It’s a great festival for everyone involved,” Rzeszutek said.