ENMU Hosts 65th Annual Drama Festival

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 smooth.”

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 professional development.

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.”

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