Redmond Proficiency Academy thespians shine at regional competition

Redmond Proficiency Academy (RPA) Thespian Troupe #7715 competed in the annual South Regional Acting Competition on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at Central High School in Independence, Ore., taking home 44 ribbons for excellence in numerous acting categories.

“It is impossible to not be proud of these jaw-dropping thespians,” said Kate Torcom, RPA theatre director. “Watching RPA Theatre students compete with professionalism, commitment, and grace is one of the greatest honors of my life.”

Awarded 42 state-qualifier ribbons, twenty RPA actors will compete at the state festival as part of the following groups:

Large Musical Group: Grace Blanchette, Jae Churchill-Dicks, Tayah Hester, Izzy King, Marli Messner, Riley Newton, Reilly O’Donnell, Elena Hazzard, Grace Sorensen, Craig Chisholm, Sarah Gruenberg, Kendra McGuire, Dylan Rariden, Lydia Carter, and Finn Kling.

Small Musical Group: Jae Churchill-Dicks,  Craig Chisholm, Casey James, Dylan Rariden, Finn Kling, and Calvin Stelzer.

Two-Group Acting Pieces: Grace Blanchette, Izzy King, Elizabeth McCook, Marli Messner, Riley Newton, Elena Hazzard, Grace Sorensen, Sarah Gruenberg, and Lydia Carter.

In addition, senior Emi Hegarty (solo acting experienced), seniors Izzy King and Marli Messner (duo dramatic experienced), senior Reilly O’Donnell and sophomore Craig Chisholm (duo dramatic experienced), seniors Grace Blanchette and Tayah Hester (pantomime), junior Grace Sorensen (solo musical), freshmen Lydia Carter and Anne McCook (duo dramatic novice), and freshmen Finn Kling and Calvin Stelzer (duo comedic novice) all qualified for the state competition in Salem.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to have attended regionals for four years and now qualify in all three categories as a senior,” said Marli Messner. “We’ve worked hard on these pieces and I am very proud of them. I am so proud of the team, and I’m grateful for the work of our director, Kate Torcom.”

Marli Messner won state qualification in large group musical, group acting, and duo dramatic experienced.

“My first time at Regionals was during my sophomore year, and I was ecstatic to qualify in solo novice acting,” said senior Emi Hegarty, who ranked top in solo acting experienced. “I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to compete alongside my fellow thespians and friends again my senior year.”

Beyond the state competitors, RPA also had regional finalists in two categories. Senior Brookylnn Kreps (solo acting) and sophomore Aubrey Luse (solo acting) earned finalist ribbons.

“I am so honored to be apart of such an amazing group of people and have had the chance to compete as a freshman,” said Lydia Carter, who qualified for state in all three of her categories as a freshman.

Craig Chisholm, a sophomore who transferred to RPA last spring and qualified for state in all three of his categories said, “Having gone from one school to here, RPA has shown me the environment I always valued and wanted.”

RPA was the most decorated troupe from Central Oregon at Regionals for the fifth year in a row and has established a reputation as a strong competitor in the Southern Region and throughout the state.

RPA also contributed the most to the Southern Region’s Hygiene drive by collecting 13,548 items of the total 14,674 collections. Oregon Thespians collected 27,563 items as a state for local shelters.

“From utilizing social media and Venmo to calling stores for the best prices, RPA students really rallied for the cause this year,” Torcom said. “This department’s commitment to our community is unparalleled. This is RPA’s fourth consecutive year bringing the most donations to the Southern Region.”

Next up, the RPA thespians will travel to Salem from April 2-4 to compete in the state competition.

“Being a part of this theatre department has been a blast from day one,” said freshmen Finn Kling. “Qualifying for state as a freshman is riveting!

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