Steamboat Springs drama students qualify for nationals |

Steamboat Springs drama students qualify for nationals

The Steamboat Springs High School drama troupe has a record number of students participating this year. The troupe will be sending 17 students to nationals following a strong showing at the 2016 Colorado Thespian Convention.

— The hard work of the Steamboat Springs High School drama troupe paid off during its recent trip to Thescon, the statewide Thespian Convention, which is attended by around 5,000 students from across Colorado each December.

This year, 17 Steamboat drama students qualified for nationals at the state competition in 13 different events.

Keala Fraioli, Mayana Gibbs, Iain Grant, Charlie Harrington, Hannah Heil, Olivia Hobson, Madison Lee, Samantha Lee, Charles Leech, Libby Lukens, Lana Pivarnik, Sean Portman, Wren Requist, Aubrey Rohde, Zoë Stewart, Henry Tisch and Zoë Walsh will all have the chance to compete for national recognition in theater this June in Lincoln, Nebraska.

This is a record number of national qualifiers for the Steamboat drama troupe, which sent its first student to nationals only four years ago. Students said the success of the group is a result of the combined work of the students and Steamboat Springs High School drama teacher Jamie Oberhansly.

“My sister graduated Steamboat Springs High School in 2011 when Mrs. O (Oberhansly) wasn’t here, and the drama troupe was just a group of 20 kids and three mirrors on stage,” said Grant, a senior. “Now, we have 71 members and a two-story rotating set, and we’re sending 17 kids to nationals.”

To earn a spot at nationals, students present their talent to judges, who score participants on everything from character authenticity to the grace with which they exit the stage. This year’s competitors qualified for nationals in individual events like solo musical, solo acting, duet musical, ensemble musical and tech.

“You have to figure out a way to be unique, so you’re not the just the 100th person auditioning,” said Lukens, a three-time Thescon veteran. “You have to stand out.”

And though Thescon is complete with all the stresses and adrenaline of any other competition, participants agree that the annual trip is often times more akin to a community. The competition is rewarding, but students value the learning opportunities and experiences of the convention as well.

“[Thescon is] so supportive; it’s about making you a better performer. Everyone understands that you’re a student, and you’re learning,” Grant said.

The high school drama troupe has tripled in size since this year’s seniors entered the high school and will likely continue to excel at Thescon in the coming years.

“I can’t wait to come back and see a show because I know it’s going to be more and more incredible,” Lukens said. “Each show we get better, and we learn more about theater.”

Students headed to nationals are looking for sponsors to help cover the costs of competition. Anyone interested in supporting the drama troupe should email Jamie Oberhansly at

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