By Abby Stanford 2027 and Jalen Hagans 2027
Every year, creative students from schools across Georgia meet in Columbus, GA and share their passion for art while learning more about the fabulous world of theater at an event called ThesCon.
One of the many fun things one can do is perform in the thespys. Student artists can showcase many skills, like stage management, lighting set, and sound design, a solo duet or group acting or musical piece, and many more. There are four different rankings based on one’s performance. As performers, students ultimately strive to get a superior, the highest ranking, to qualify for the international event in Indiana. Abby and Jalen had both positive and negative experiences that shaped what each of them had learned from ThesCon, lessons that will serve them well in performing and beyond.
Abby was ecstatic upon learning about ThesCon opportunity. She was going to be Mary Poppins in the MV group musical piece, and she couldn’t wait. Then came the exciting day of the first rehearsal. A devastated Mr. Stephens, the Director, informed Abby that he had neglected to include her name on the ThesCon registration, so she could not compete. Although upset, Abby was happy to experience the competition with her fellow MV thespians, as an observer.
Moreover, she and Jalen were offered a unique chance to attend a live Masterclass with a Broadway actress in front of the entire conference. In the days prior, Abby practiced nonstop. She had decided to sing Right Hand Man, from the show Something Rotten, because it was perfect for her and no amount of nerves would ruin it.
Jaden felt comfortable with the acts selected for Thespys as he had performed them at various times on the MV stage. On the other hand, he was very nervous because he was the youngest performer, had never sung in front of a large audience, and had to select a song and practice quickly. He selected Rise Up by Andra Day because of its motivational message, and it provided the strength he needed for the Masterclass performance.
On the day of the Masterclass, Abby and Jalen were both nervous and excited, felt like professionals, and basked in the special treatment they received on stage. Both delivered strong performances to thunderous audience applause and left the conference feeling elated.
Although both thespians had different experiences, each learned a lot from ThesCon. First, they discovered that everything happens for a reason and that when one door closes, a new one opens! Moreover, they both gained self-confidence and learned that even though things might not always go to plan, you can still have a great time.