High School Thespians Best In State

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The Payson High School Thespians were named top troupe in the state at the Arizona Thespian Conference recently at Phoenix Civic Plaza.

After being selected one of the state's elite honor troupes for the eighth consecutive year, the PHS contingent was then named the only superior honor troupe.

"There are approximately 85 active troupes in the state of Arizona," said Kathy Siler, head of the PHS Drama Department and Thespian sponsor.

Some 30 of those 85 apply for the honor troupe designation each year, and about half of those qualify.

"You must have a certain number of points in each of three categories -- production and performance, service to the school, and community service," Siler said. "We have earned the honor troupe designation every year we've applied."

Being the lone recipient of the superior honor troupe designation means the PHS thespians outperformed all the others in those three categories.

"What this means is that PHS drama does more shows, community projects and the like than any other troupe in the state," John Siler, former drama teacher and current drama assistant, said.

The accolades were for achievements during the 2003-04 school year, according to Kathy Siler. Last year's officers included Billy Chester, president; Christina Culligan, vice president; Lindsay Lashbrook, captain thespian; Melissa Stoll, secretary; and Jenny Cohen, historian.

More than 1,600 high school students from 70 Arizona schools acted, sang, danced and learned how to improve their theater arts skills at the conference. Students participated in workshops about musical comedy, stage combat, theater sound and lighting, playwriting, makeup and other aspects of theater arts. The PHS Thespian troupe also is affiliated with the International Thespian Society, a worldwide honors organization made up of the best high school performers and technicians.

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