Under tough conditions, Appleton North theatre students tallied another victory in an incredible streak of success that’s older than of any of its current participants.
Last weekend, Appleton North High School’s one-act production of the classic play “Saint Joan” received the top award at the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival state finals. It was the 22nd consecutive Critic’s Choice honor for the high school — something no other school has accomplished.
Participating schools competed at district and sectional meets in order to qualify for state. Each qualifying school then prepared a final recording for evaluation by a panel of four adjudicators during the festival.
Pandemic realities added a new twist.
In previous years, the school became known for grand sets that were quickly assembled and then disassembled during 40-minute performances. This year, everything was done via Internet and video conferencing.
Auditions and rehearsals were held online. Homemade green screens were built and dropped off at students’ homes along with costumes and props.
“Problems with wi-fi connectivity also had to be dealt with,” said North Theatre Director Ron Parker, “but the students rose to every challenge that presented itself, and together created a very powerful and engaging piece of virtual theatre.”
In addition to the Critic’s Choice honor, Appleton North’s cast, crew and technicians swept all award categories with an Outstanding Ensemble Acting Award, an Outstanding Technical/Crew Award and a Director’s Award. Students Emily Hodson (as Earl of Warwick of England), Isaac Lemmert (as Chaplain to Cardinal of England), and Meg Cain (as Joan of Arc) received Outstanding Acting Awards.