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“Theater Kids” Shine at Regional Thespian Fest, Head to States
Five students pose arm-in-arm in front of a wall lined with art

Thespian Festival participants include Payton Earwood ’25, Kaia Ramakrishnan ’25, Olivia Rivera ’25, Aryan Ghodrat ’24 and Macey Malik ’26.

Ravenscroft theater students continue to shine at the NC Thespian Festival! Based on their outstanding performances and submissions, all nine of the Upper School Ravens who participated in the 2023 Central Regional competition on Jan. 7 have advanced to the statewide event, taking place March 10-12 at East Carolina University in Greenville.

Congratulations to these students for earning “Excellent” or “Superior” in their categories of competition, qualifying them to move on to states:

  • Aryan Ghodrat ’24, Solo Music Theatre

  • Jenna Seidenfrau ’23, Solo Music Theatre

  • Olivia Rivera ’25, Solo Music Theatre

  • Abbey McCuen ’24, Solo Music Theatre

  • Sara Baende ’23, Solo Music Theatre

  • Macey Malik ’26, Solo Acting

  • Jenna Seidenfrau ’23 and Olivia Rivera ’25, Duet Music Theatre

  • Payton Earwood ’25 and Kaia Ramakrishnan ’25, Duet Acting

  • Madison Anysz ’23 and Abbey McCuen ’24, Musical Theatre Dance

  • Madison Anysz ’23, Costume Construction

The state festival is a whirlwind of theater-inspired activities, including student performances, workshops with theater professionals, informal meetings with representatives from performing-arts colleges and universities, and a Tech Challenge. In addition, students can pursue scholarship opportunities and get more involved in running the festival in 2024.

Students stand in a circle in the lobby of a school, a trophy case behind them

Ravenscroft thespians “take five” at the regional festival; clockwise from left, Madison Anysz ’23, Macey Malik ’26, Jenna Seidenfrau ’23, Payton Earwood ’25, Kaia Ramakrishnan ’25, Sara Baende ’23 and Abbey McCuen ’24 (seated).

Ravenscroft’s participants at regionals said they enjoyed the day despite the pressures of their own performances.

“The most fun part of the competition was watching the other talented acts perform, and there was never a dull moment,” Olivia said. “The most challenging part, however, was trying to perform my pieces the way that I planned them; there was a lot of excitement in the competition, and it was easy to get caught up in the moment and forget my blocking.” 

“Observing the incredible level of talent from the other competitors made me feel self-conscious about my own abilities,” Aryan — who got his first taste of regional competition performing Shakespeare in 2021 —  added. “But overall, it was really cool to experience the energy and passion for theater from so many different people. Seeing all the different performances and getting to know the other ‘theater kids’ from different schools in our region was a lot of fun.”

The range of categories offered in the competition gave these thespians plenty of room to showcase their talents.

“I chose to compete in the monologue category with a comedic monologue about messing up public speaking and a serious monologue from ‘Hamlet’ because I love performing both of them and they compliment each other,” Macey said. 

“I have always loved singing, so it was an obvious choice to perform a solo song in the musical theater category. It was fun and exciting, a piece I used for college auditions in the fall,” Jenna, who along with Madison participated in the state competition last year as well, said. “The duet with Olivia was a last-minute addition to the competition, but we chose it because the song was really pretty and we wanted to work together one last time before I graduate in the spring. Working with her made it a more exciting experience.”

“I was so excited to participate in costume construction again this year because last year’s competition was so fun,” Madison said. “The biggest lesson I learned from my previous year of competition is to enjoy the experience. Of course, making sure you’re super-prepared for the competition is number one but, once you’ve done that, there’s no need to stress all day while you’re attending other competitors’ events and workshops! Enjoy your time surrounded by hundreds of other students who love the same.”

For all of these Ravens, going on to the state level gives them more opportunities to pursue their passions. 

“I think that we have all worked really hard for this opportunity, and we all have a love for theater and performing,” Olivia concluded. “It feels great that we are all going, and I’m so excited for the competition in March!”