Cleo House-Keller

Cleo House-Keller

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The School of Theatre and Dance at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the University Interscholastic League 3A District 21 One-Act Play Contest Friday, March 8, in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the university campus.

Performances will begin at 10 a.m. in the Flex Theatre and will continue throughout the day. Admission is free to watch the student performances.

Area high schools participating in this district contest are Huntington, Woodville, Pineywoods Community Academy, Hemphill, Central and Central Heights.

Cleo House-Keller, director of the School of Theatre and Dance, sees the contest as another opportunity to showcase SFA facilities to prospective students and their teachers, as well as give current SFA theatre majors a behind-the-scenes look at future leadership opportunities.

“Most of our students have participated as students in UIL, but now they’re getting to see what it takes on the other side to run a contest like this,” House said. “We have students who are assisting in these schools’ performances. They will be working in the light/sound booth all the way to backstage and up in the fly rails. They’re getting valuable experience as future professionals.”

Being of service to the Texas UIL program puts a feather in the cap of SFA, House said.

“For SoTD, we’re being of service to the state, but we can also show off our facilities,” he said.  “Each contest we host puts students on our campus for two days. The first day is for the setting of technical cues, and the next day is the actual contest. It gives us a chance to help these high school students see how special SFA is and, of course, hopefully they’ll want to come here to study.”

The UIL’s One-Act Play Contest, founded in 1927, is the largest high school play production contest or play festival in the world. More than 14,000 Texas high school students in more than 1,200 plays participate in 300-plus contests, which take place from the beginning of March through the three-day, 40-production State Meet One-Act Play Contest. The One-Act Play Contest is supported by more than 300 members of the Texas Theatre Adjudicator and Officials Organization. The league's theatre program is considered by historians to be the foundation of educational and community theatre in Texas. It continues to be a major factor motivating increasing numbers of schools to offer theatre arts as an academic subject, according to information on their website

House said UIL is “near and dear to my heart.”

“My love for theatre was cemented at 14 years old because a judge for UIL said a kind word to me about my performance,” he said. “My passion for theatre was ignited because I was blown away by the talents of another school’s production. While no event is perfect, the benefits of UIL, specifically UIL One-Act Play, are too numerous to name. It makes Texas one of the most desired states from which to recruit new students in the area of theatre.”

SFA will also host the 4A Region 3 contest on April 26. To purchase tickets, visit the fine arts box office.

For more information about the SFA School of Theatre and Dance, call (936) 468-4003 or visit the website.