Ashland High School thespians brought back a bevy of awards from the 2017 Oregon State Thespian Festival April 6-8 in Salem.

Over the course of four days, members of the AHS troupe experienced three main stage shows, two dances, 25 one-acts, 100 workshops, and state acting and technical competitions. Thirty AHS actors and techs attended the annual festival, along with 2,000 others (a total of 63 troupes).

AHS Troupe #4630 was one of only three schools named an "honor troupe." AHS earned the distinction for its 10-minute presentation, 40-page proof book and a Power Point about its activities and "spotlight projects" (middle school drama workshop, "Every 28 Hours" with OSF, and Project Up Students with disabilities performed at the Winter Fine Arts Festival with AHS actors).

Members of the troupe were: Jonathan Connolly, Tessa Buckley, Sierra Milburn, Nicky Clary and Grace Pruitt.

Selected for the All-State Show were all three troupe members who auditioned and were chosen to be among 50 who rehearsed six hours during the conference for a finale show (a first for Oregon Thespians). The three were: Pruitt, Stella Culhane and Zoe Lishinsky. All three performed solo songs and were given choral speaking roles in a show themed "Start Now."

Pruitt and Lishinsky, along with another student, sang the finale number "I Will Rise Up."

State acting awards went to several AHS students who scored and performed pieces onstage: Connolly and Milburn, for duo music ("A Stud and a Babe," from "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change"); and Taiga Sherman, for an original pantomime.

Technical awards were given to: Christopher Robin Jossy-McKee for stage management; Kyle Storie for costume design; and the "Tech Yeah!" team (Michael W. Burt, Maddie Fung, Christopher Robin Jossy-McKee, Lila Goldman, Nellie Strong, Milburn, and Cloe Sutherland).

Also called on stage to be honored for their academic and theater work were Tessa Buckley, who was award the $2,000 Melba Day Sparks Theatre Scholarship; and Pruitt, who was given a $500 Oregon State Thespian Theatre Scholarship.

Although they were not honored on stage, these students scored two or more "superiors" at state: Audrey Cirzan, for costume design; Lila Goldman, for sound design; Beth London for set design; Taylor Kelly McMahon, for costume design; Preston Mead, for solo acting; and Zoe Lishinsky, for solo musical.

Betsy Bishop, AHS theater teacher and producer, led the trip, assisted by Candice Chapman and Doug Ham.