Reflections from Parkway Playhouse Junior Tech Olympians

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Over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend this year, Parkway Playhouse Junior students attending the 2015 Junior Theater Festival for the 4th year. Four of our students joined students from over 50 other groups to compete in the first annual Junior Theater Festival Tech Olympics. Pictured above (from left to right) is Levi Bradford, Isabelle Hughes, Logan Walden, and Taylor Hutchison, Parkway Playhouse Junior’s 2015 Tech Olympians who came in 2nd Place!

What did you have to do as part of the Tech Olympics at the 2015 Junior Theater Festival?

(Taylor) There were three sections. The first was a quick change, which was where we switched Isabelle out of a costume and into another. The second was taping out a pre-designed shape. That was the hardest section to complete! In this situation, the shape was an “L” with crosses in the middle. We kept doing that wrong… And the last section was setting a props table to how it looked on the picture. We didn’t make it to that one because we were having a hard time with the “L”…

(Isabelle) I was the model for the quick change and then had to go on to the next steps wearing some very stylish sunglasses, a hula skirt, and a hat. The tape was what we got stuck on (pun intended). It was definitely the hardest part because we had to measure it and stick it down exactly like the picture showed.


Did you feel like the fact that you were previously a Parkway Playhouse High School Apprentice prepared you for the Tech Olympics at the Junior Theater Festival?

(Logan) Being a high school apprentice at the Parkway Playhouse for two years helped on monumental levels! I would have had more of an advantage had they included lights, sound, and other electronic aspects of the theatre though. I am much more experienced in that.

(Levi) I felt prepared because Haven, Bobby, Andrew, Jered, and other Parkway Playhouse folks had shown me how to quickly and efficiently handle similar technical challenges during my Apprenticeship.

(Taylor) I was a High School Apprentice for four years! I used everything that I learned in my Apprenticeship in the games. I have done quick changes, set prop tables and everything in between, but never had to tape out shapes like that! That was difficult, but I think that we all worked well as a team and did our best!


How did it feel to be onstage in front of 4500 of your peers from all over the world?

(Isabelle) Going up onstage in front of 4500 people was terrifying and exciting at the same time! But once we were actually onstage I was so focused on what we had to do that it was over very quickly.

(Taylor) I actually wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be! I mean I was a little nervous. Who wouldn’t be? But I was definitely more nervous about what I had to do for the challenge.

(Levi) It felt awesome to be in front of so many people! The energy from being up there was exhilarating!

(Logan) It was my second time being on stage in front of that many people. Last year, I was chosen to perform in the JTF finale and I was mic’d! Now that was scary…

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What will you always remember about your experience in the Tech Olympics at the Junior Theater Festival?

(Logan) The sound of people cheering for us and the love we all felt from our group, even when we returned with second place.

(Taylor) I loved knowing what to do! I felt that everything that I had learned at Parkway helped me and my group through it.

(Levi) I will remember the thrill and excitement of being on stage with my friends and representing our theatre in front of groups from all around the country.

(Isabelle) I’m thrilled that I was able to go onstage and represent PPHJr in the very first Technical Olympics. This experience was definitely a highlight of my weekend!


For information about Parkway Playhouse’s High School Apprentice Program, CLICK HERE!


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Parkway Playhouse, located in the Appalachian town of Burnsville, NC, is a haven of theatre talent. While people come to the mountains to get away, Parkway Playhouse is a natural gathering place to connect. Likewise, we are an extension of traditional mountain talents: singing, dancing, and, foremost, storytelling. By giving rise to energetic new voices and through a wide variety of plays and musicals, we invite our audience into experiences that are thought-provoking, adventurous, and entertaining. Together we reimagine the world in every live performance, creating dynamic conversations that last far beyond the curtain call. This blog is will feature stories, helpful information, insight and features about the performances.

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