NEWS RELEASE November 7, 2014

November 7, 2014
Front row, kneeling: Aly Miller, Ms. Sarah Miller, James Stanley, Jonathon Carlson, Andy Li, Evan
Jones, A.J. Ugenti, Ali Maupin; Back row, standing: Jon Church, Mr. Tim Walker, Ms. Laurie
Nicholson, Anna Prewitt, Zac Jones, Zach Langdon, Caleb Stoudt, Olivia Phillips, Nick Bozeman,
Brook Blackwell, Jill Turner, Ben Watson, Ren'ee Taylor, Gabby Moody, and Mr. Zach Walker
Photo by Craig Carlson
Watauga High School Pioneer Playmakers
Win Regional Honors, Advance to State Competition
The Watauga High School Pioneer Playmakers have been recognized for their
outstanding production of the one-act musical A Fable at the North Carolina Theatre Conference
(NCTC) Regional High School Play Festival, receiving eight awards and being selected to
advance to the State High School Play Festival at Greensboro College November 20-21.
The Playmakers’ production is one of only 16 chosen for performance at the state level
out of 128 productions that were presented in regional festivals across the state. Director Sarah
Miller said that “we feel honored to be one of the 16 schools invited to share our work at the
State Festival.”
The NCTC High School Play Festival is the largest high school theatre event in the
Southeast, featuring more than 3,000 students from 91 schools performing this year’s 128 plays.
Miller praised the students’ work in the regional festival, commenting that “our
Playmakers delivered the best performance we could have possibly asked of them. Additionally,
they represented the high school and Watauga County Schools with grace, class, and a true spirit
of ensemble support and positivity. They were wonderful theatre ambassadors for our district.”
The Playmakers’ production won a Superior rating for A Fable from the festival judges
along with seven more specific awards. The additional honors received include Excellence in
Theatre Arts for Puppetry for Zac Jones, Olivia Phillips, Jill Turner, and A.J. Ugenti; an
Honorable Mention for Excellence in Lighting Design for Caleb Stoudt and Nick Bozeman; the
Barbizon Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre Award for Props Design and Stage
Crew for Rebekah "Gabby" Moody; Excellence in Acting awards for both A.J. Ugenti and Andy
Li; Outstanding Achievement in Ensemble Acting for the cast and crew; and Excellence in
Miller and fellow WHS drama teacher Zach Walker alternate directing the Playmakers
each year and this is Miller’s year in that role, but she credited Walker with being a key partner
in the production of A Fable. “He helped design sets, assisted with rehearsals and directing, and
supported the production in every way. Our work has been wonderfully collaborative, which is
great for the directors and a strong example for our students.”
The Pioneer Playmakers and other groups taking part in the NCTC High School Play
Festival Schools travel to the event with the complete set for their play and load the materials
into a 10’x10’ area backstage. Each group is allotted just 45 minutes for all elements of the
production, including setting up, the performance, and clearing the stage. After the performance,
students join their peers in the audience to receive immediate feedback from professional actors
and directors with Broadway and Hollywood credits.
In addition to praising her students and Walker, Miller made a point of expressing her
appreciation for the support the Playmakers’ production received from people beyond the high
school’s Drama Department. “We are especially grateful to student musician Jon Church, our
colleague Tim Walker, and our accompanist Laurie Nicholson for being a part of this production.
We also thank Becky Steele and Dustin Kerley for their collegiality in sharing students with us
while we prepare for these festivals.”
The Playmakers will offer an encore performance of A Fable in Ross Auditorium at the
high school at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 17. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the
door, with all proceeds used to help the Playmakers represent Watauga County Schools at the
NCTC State Championship. “We’d love for a big crowd to enjoy this outstanding production by
our students and support their work,” said Miller. “We’re very proud of their achievements and
look forward to sharing A Fable again with a hometown audience.”
The Playmakers will also benefit from a fundraising day at Come Back Shack on Sunday,
November 16. On that date, Come Back Shack will contribute a portion of sales to the
Playmakers for each customer who tells their server they want to help the Playmakers raise
money to go to the State Championship.