Coordinators Marianna Medina and Sarah Koss warmly welcoming students to the
ENMU Drama Festival. The Chase Photo: Owen Crowlie
Eastern New Mexico University was the site of a four-day long celebration of the performing
arts, hosting the 65th annual Drama Festival.
17 high schools from throughout New Mexico and west Texas attended to perform in prepared
one-act plays, show off student films and participate in workshops taught by ENMU’s own
theater department students. Excitement from young thespians in the audience during the
opening ceremony was nearly overpowering, as they erupted into cheers and applause as
Drama Festival volunteers took to the stage to welcome them.
Senior coordinator for the event Marianna Medina expressed her gratitude for their attendance
during the ceremony. “We are so excited to have you here, after months of planning and
preparing,” Medina said.
Junior coordinator Sarah Koss confirmed the lengths the ENMU theater students went to,
stating that she and Medina had been planning the event for up to a year. “I went into it thinking
it was going to be stressful, but we did so much planning beforehand that once we got to Drama
Fest, it was like, ‘Okay, we might have a minor issue here,’ but pretty much everything went
In attendance was Michelle Tomlinson, an ENMU graduate who has gone on to act and direct in
Hollywood—having been involved in over 40 movies and television shows. Tomlinson offered
salient and practical advice on how to pursue a career in acting based on her own experience.
Having been so busy when she was a student at ENMU, this was also the first Drama Fest in
which she was able to see shows and attend workshops.
Attendees were treated to a wide range of shows, ranging from period plays with extensive sets
to surrealist pieces such as “Clown Bar.” Then, after performing and receiving feedback from
ENMU volunteers, attendees were free to participate in workshops for screenwriting, improv or
Albuquerque theater teacher Ralph Atkins expressed the importance of events like Drama
Festival in areas like the rural southwest. “I love that ENMU’s been doing this for so long; they
are fostering a lot. I came here to see the little schools put on shows,” he said. “I remember
coming here in high school and being amazed there was a town called Muleshoe—and they did
Beckett! The arts need to thrive everywhere, not just to the big cities. Kids need to express
themselves—express that art.”