Cumberland High theatre team members earn international honor

Published 6:44 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland High Theatre Team has become a part of an international honor society, with members completing hundreds of hours of work.

The International Thespian Society (ITS) is an honors society that honors student achievements in theatre. ITS has a few familiar alumni you may have heard of, people like Tom Hanks, Val Kilmer, James Marsters and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, to name a few. As of the end of 2022, there were 139,000 members of the group, spread out across 5,000 schools. 

Now that Cumberland High’s theatre program is a part of the organization, each student has to earn their way into becoming inducted into the troupe. 

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“It’s not just showing up and doing the minimum,” said Charles Haigh, coach and troupe director. “It’s about taking extra time and putting in extra work.”

To be a part of the troupe, students have to earn 10 troupe points. Each troupe point is earned after 10 hours of completing quality work in theatre arts and related disciplines. This can be performing, set building and other preparation work for performances, community service, mentoring and fundraising. This spring, Cumberland inducted 11 out of 17 members and the rest are still working to get the minimum point to get inducted next year. 

Cumberland High students excited

“It’s such an awesome thing that as a small school we get to be a part of something so big,” said Autumn Seaver, a sophomore who started theatre this past fall after seeing a play and wanting to get involved.

After earning the minimum 10 points, students are encouraged to keep going. They can keep working to earn higher ranks which can benefit them in their college applications and scholarship opportunities with the organization. 

“I enjoy theatre a lot,” said Emily Eroh, a sophomore who joined the theatre team this past fall. “It’s one of my favorite activities right now and I plan to do as much of it as I can through high school and maybe after.”

Levi Dayton is a junior who started his freshman year after being peer pressured by his friends to sign up and he is happy they did. Looking towards graduation, Dayton is thinking about minoring in theatre at Virginia Commonwealth University or at least joining a local community theatre. Being a part of ITS will help his college application and opportunities for scholarships in the program. 

“This year I am the vice president and also being part of the troupe will look pretty great,” he said. “This has created a great opportunity and I’ve grown so much.”

Other theatre accomplishments

Along with putting in hours for ITS, the theatre team has made other notable accomplishments. 

While also joining ITS, senior Quinn Kukk received recognition as the regional outstanding actor in November and received the Jenny Bradley Memorial Scholarship from the Virginia Association of Forensics, Theatre and Debate Coaches. 

The whole theatre team earned third place in the region this past fall for the play “Wishing Well” by Charles and Rebecca Haigh.