GEHS students raise funds to take play to Kentucky theater festival

Front Row: Brett Napier (left), Skyler McCallister, Sydnee Miller, B’Launa Westmoreland and Shaylen Lafferty; Back Row: Will Sarver (left), Sophia Gum, Charleigh Carter, Sarah Stacy, Emily Swann, Jacob Masters and Summer Tincher


Students from the Greenbrier East Theater department will compete in the 2017 High School Theatre Festival Mar. 2-3 at the Lexington Opera House during the 68th annual Southeast Theatre Conference (SETC) Convention in Lexington, KY.

Their performance of “Emotional Baggage” earned first place at the West Virginia Theatre Association competition last November.

In preparation for the competition, they will perform “Emotional Baggage” at Greenbrier Valley Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. “This play is different as it has no dialogue and focuses solely on non-verbal storytelling,” said Kallie Cochran, faculty adviser for the GEHS theater department. “It’s the story of seven strangers who meet and confront each other in a train station, each carrying their own ‘emotional baggage’ instead of luggage.”

“The students have worked diligently for months to prepare for the competition, and to raise the funds to cover their expenses. Our goal is to raise $6,000 which will pay for the conference fees, transportation, accommodations and meals,” said Cochran. “We were fortunate to receive a $1,000 grant from the state for winning in November and we’ve raised almost $1,500 through bake sales and an event at April’s Pizzeria. All of the proceeds from our Feb. 16 performance at GVT will go towards the trip to Lexington.

Participating students are seniors Charleigh Carter, Sophia Gum, Jacob Masters, Sydnee Miller and Sarah Stacy; junior Summer Tincher; sophomores Shaylen Lafferty and Emily Swann; and freshmen Will Sarver and B’Launa Westmoreland. Megan Armstrong serves as the student director for the production while Skyler McAllister and Brett Napier handle lighting and sound.

The SETC consists of schools in 10 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The two winning productions from each state are eligible to compete at the regional level, which is the largest regional festival in the US. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the other theatrical activities and events including keynote presentations, undergraduate school auditions, school design/tech interviews and over 300 workshops encompassing all aspects of theater.

Individual and corporate donations are welcome and may be made by mailing a check payable to the Greenbrier East Theater department to GEHS, Attn: Kallie Cochran, 273 Spartan Lane, Lewisburg, WV 24901.