by June Portnoy
Pennsbury High School (PHS) was among 19 high schools and middle schools from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to participate in the second annual Newtown Student Theatre Festival.
It was held at the Newtown Theatre from April 30th through May 4th, during which time over 500 students performed 33 productions. The purpose of this weeklong festival, produced by Newtown Arts Company and Newtown Theatre, was to give students an opportunity to perform 30-minute stage pieces and receive feedback from theater professionals.
Each day culminated in an awards presentation, followed by the performance of “Into the Woods,” the Tony-Award winning musical presented by Newtown Arts Company.
Students from PHS’ after-school theater group performed four theatrical numbers over two days including “Scuba Lessons,” “Magic Theater,” “Andrea’s Got Two Boyfriends,” and “Overtones,” all of which received various awards.
Festival Director Kristin Kauffman proposed the idea for the Newtown Student Theatre Festival because she remembered how much she enjoyed participating in the Bucks County Playhouse’s Annual Drama Festival when she was a student at PHS. That festival took place for 43 years up until the Playhouse closed in 2010.
“Performing at the Theatre Festival was such a rewarding experience for me,” said Kristin, “and I wanted students to continue to have this opportunity.”
“Although our theater festival has no affiliation with the former festival held at the Bucks County Playhouse, it offers a similar format,” said Festival Administrator Marcia Wittmann. “It also fills a void in this community that offers very few theater festivals.”
“Students participating in this festival have the chance to meet other students just like them who share their passion for theater,” said Nancy Pickering, co-producer of the Newtown Theatre Festival.