Students take on Georgia Theater Conference for first time


GTC attendee

Seniors Hugh Walsh, Anna Hall, Katie MacLauchlan and junior Jordan Bobbitt sit on the steps of the Burd Center on lunch break. For the two day conference, students could choose a multitude of workshops or shows to attend with two hour lunch breaks each day.

Chandler Cummings-McBride, Feature co-Editor

Anticipating her overnight field trip to Brenau University, senior Katie MacLauchlan, four-year Thespian Society member, experienced a restless sleep the night before attending the Georgia Theater Conference for high school drama students. “I was pretty excited to go,” MacLauchlan said.

Twelve Mill students woke up at 6:30 a.m. for the hour and a half bus ride to Gainesville, Georgia. “Although I was tired, I was hoping to go to some cool workshops and see some cool shows,” senior thespian Hugh Walsh said. Walsh and MacLauchlan both starred in “Shooting Stars” in November and work extensively in the drama department.

It was a good learning experience for other actors. ”

— Junior Jordan Bobbitt

Hundreds of Georgia high school theater advocates just like these seniors convene for a theater conference in October for workshops and audition opportunities. Students arrive ready to expand their acting skills and techniques through these sessions. Workshops serve as the basis of the conference, with around 40 different theater related classes taught each day, each lasting 1-2 hours.

One of the most popular workshops visited by the Mill’s students, the neutral mask workshop, opened up the eyes for many. “We put on these beautiful leather masks and were instructed to ‘discover.’ We discovered ourselves, our surroundings, and finally, those around us,” senior Anna Hall said.

MacLauchlan also participated in the journeying class and said that “we wore masks to hide our faces and express things using our bodies. I enjoyed this workshop because it was authentic, primitive and more honest than most contrived methods of acting.”

While MacLauchlan and Hall explored acting through body language, the improvisation class workshop caught Walsh’s attention. “They showed us how to be focus on a situation while distractions were made around us,” Walsh said.  Although Walsh already attended the class once, he said that it was his favorite class because he’s always loved improvisation.

During the trip, other high school casts performed several productions on top of the workshops. These shows included “The Addams Family,” “Into the Woods” and “Glorious.” Walsh ventured to see the “Addams Family,” a show that the drama department performed last year. Walsh said the “Addams Family” production at the conference “was entertaining and funny, but there were some casting problems.”

In addition to seeing shows and participating in workshops, conference attendees had the opportunity to use the conference as a way of auditioning for Georgia schools with theater programs. Hall said that the auditions were set up as one big audition in a conference room with 30 tables and two judges seated at each table.

Auditions were for senior high school students only, and a large panel of judges were present, “so I wasn’t auditioning for any particular school,” Hall said. She received 10 callbacks. “It was really fulfilling, especially because I was super afraid I wasn’t going to get any, and I had worked really hard,” she said.

Another attendee, junior and thespian troupe member Jordan Bobbitt, has plans to be an actor in the future and said “it was a good learning experience for other actors.”

Bobbitt plans to attend the conference next year. “I can’t wait,” she said.