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Teens showcase talent in one-act play festival



Dalton’s Drama Dawgs perform “With Regards to Cooper Clawson’s Conscience” and received a “Superior” rating at the Wayne County Play Festival Jan. 25 at Dalton High School auditorium.


Waynedale High School performs “Rideshare Overshare”  which left the audience laughing and earned an “Excellent” rating by judges at the play festival.

Grocery store customers and employees likely could relate to “Paper or Plastic?” put on by Chippewa High School.

“Loving Every Nook and Granny” was highly entertaining written by Triway junior Maria James.


DALTON  In between the fall play and the spring musical, some Wayne County high school drama students put their efforts into memorizing lines, making props, working on costumes, light and sound – and in some cases even writing – for the annual one-act play festival.

The 46th annual Wayne County High School Play Festival, sponsored by the Tri-County Educational Service Center, often serves as a bright spot on a cold late January day and is guaranteed to make audience members laugh, feel entertained, and provide food for thought.

Triway High School junior Maria James wrote the play “Loving every Nook and Granny” which was a hit with the audience and the judges. This year’s judges were Brian Chandler, associate professor of theatre arts, University of Akron; Chiquita Mullins Lee, Ohio Arts Council’s Arts Learning Coordinator and playwright, poet and performer; and Ansley Valentine, associate professor of theatre at Indiana University Bloomington.

They offered helpful critiques and suggestions for improvement as well as compliments and applauded each school for their talents and hard work.

Seven schools performed and competed: “Paper or Plastic?” – Chippewa; “Rideshare Overshare” – Waynedale; “Loving Every Nook and Granny” – Triway; “With Regards to Cooper Clawson’s Conscience” – Dalton; “Pirates!” – Northwestern; “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse” – Wooster; and “Stopping at Ellis Island” – Norwayne.

The first play festival was April 20, 1978 at Dalton High School with four schools participating: Chippewa, Dalton, Norwayne and Triway. Robin Evans-DelCiappo, teacher and director and Dalton High School alumna continues to enjoy hosting the play festival each year.

According to the introduction in the play program by Dr. Michelle Muro, fine arts consultant at Tri-County ESC, “the purpose of our play festival is ‘to provide selected high school students from our local schools with the opportunity to display their talents, and to receive a rating of their performance by qualified judges.’ In addition to an overall rating, one actor from each school will be named as an all-county cast member.”

Evans-DelCiappo said she was “very proud of the Dalton students” and she thought the judges were great.

“Overall a great day,” she wrote in an email.

Dalton’s Isaac Himes was named to the Wayne County All-Cast, she said.

Chippewa, Waynedale, Triway and Northwestern received “Excellent” rating and Dalton, Wooster and Norwayne received “Superior.”

“The 2023 Wayne County High School Play Festival was a great success,” Muro said in an email. “We appreciate the time, effort, and dedication from the drama teachers and their participating students, as they strive to produce quality performances. The judges commended the drama teachers on their dedication to theatre education and the rare opportunity for students to perform in a local Play Festival. It was a pleasure to see students utilizing their drama skills and training, execution and artistic expression. We greatly appreciate the High School Principals and Superintendents for supporting this wonderful arts learning opportunity!”

Muro noted that the next fine arts event will be the Solo and Ensemble Festival on Feb. 25 and that also will be at Dalton High School.

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