Thespian group reborn at Iola High


Local News

December 5, 2019 - 9:35 AM

Nine Iola High School students etched their names into a unique piece of school history Wednesday in being named the school?s first-ever members of the International Thespian Society.

The society is the current iteration of the former National Thespian Society, which had been a part of the high school more than half a century ago.

?We?d been talking about it a few years,? drama instructor Regina Chriestenson. ?This senior class made me do it.?

With 2.2 million members worldwide, the International Thespian Society is an honors student division of the Educational Theatre Association.

Membership not only reflects the work the students have done, Chriestenson noted, but it also offers further evidence those students desire to continue to work in the dramatic arts in and out of high school.

Charter members are Lexie Vega, president, as well as Haley Carlin, Isabella Duke, Allie Fager, Alexi Fernandez, Gabriella Lampe, Bobby Lewis, Adryan Nading and Jon Poffenbarger.


Former Iola High School drama instructor Jennifer Jones speaks at Wednesday?s ceremony to mark the charter of the high school?s new International Thespian Society chapter.


JENNIFER JONES, former drama instructor at IHS, delivered a short keynote address, espousing the benefits of theater in the classroom, in terms of confidence and collaboration.

?For most students who have been in theater, the opportunity to be on stage, and to do it successfully, has increased their confidence,? she said.

As for collaboration, she pointed to the many facets required to put together a successful drama production, from rehearsals to setting up and tearing down sets, as well as working under different directors. 

All directors have the same goals, she noted, but all approach their craft differently, not unlike working under different bosses.

?Live theater also has a deadline that doesn?t change,? Jones said. ?Sometimes you have to be creative and flexible, just like in life.?

Jones noted the tell-tale signs of when somebody is considered a full-fledged thespian.

?You know the words ?house, spike, strike and grip have certain meanings,? she joked.

A true theater person also can correctly pronounced ?Stanislavski,? Jones added, and has instances when they spend more time at rehearsals than in their home.

?You know you?re a theater person when you randomly burst into musical numbers that maybe fit in your life,? she laughed, recalling the times she has sung ?Don?t Cry For Me? from the musical ?Evita,? to her 1-year-old.