South Charlotte

Independence High theater students rated ‘Superior’

A group of Independence High School advanced theater students received high marks at the regional N.C. Theatre Conference High School Play Festival on Nov. 1 at ImaginOn.

Now the students are headed to the state play festival in just a few weeks.

Each fall, professional theaters, colleges and high schools throughout the state host a regional festival; the top two productions from each of the eight sites advance to the NCTC State High School Play Festival, to be held this year Nov. 20-21 at Greensboro College.

The Independence High performance of “The Dancers,” by Horton Foote, was given a Superior rating and named a Distinguished Play.

Other awards presented to the group included the Barbizon Lighting Award for Excellence in Student Design and Production, to Sarah Rossi; Excellence in Acting to Marissa Plondke; Outstanding Achievement in Acting to Garrett Bradshaw; and Excellence in Directing to drama teacher Paula Baldwin.

Baldwin, head of the Drama Department at Independence, attended the Nov. 1 performance but was unable to stay for awards because she was appearing in Theatre Charlotte’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

When the festival awards were announced, students asked those in attendance to not post the results on social media for a few hours so they could surprise Baldwin.

“I was texting … during intermission of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to see how the awards ceremony was going and didn’t get answers,” Baldwin said.

“During one of my exits from the stage, I pass through the lobby and I saw my students standing very quietly in the corner,” she said.

“I knew it had to be good news but I still had 30 minutes of the show to do and didn’t want to totally lose my focus and concentration, so I didn’t go over to talk to them.

“As soon as curtain call was over, I bolted to the lobby to hear the good news.

“I am so very proud of these students and how much our theater program has grown in the three short years that I have been at Independence.”

The students now are working quickly to raise money through donations for the trip to the state festival.

Independence High drama students will present “The Dancers” at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and 15 at Independence High School, 1967 Patriot Drive in Charlotte.

Tickets will be $7 at the door, and all proceeds will go to cover the trip to Greensboro.

Financial donations also are appreciate; make checks payable to Independence High School Drama Boosters and mail to the school address.