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George Washington High School alumna to lead workshops for young actors at next week’s State Thespian Festival


New York actress Susan Pilar, a graduate of George Washington High School in Charleston, will be a guest workshop leader at next week’s West Virginia State Thespian Festival. The annual Festival for high school theater students, hosted this year by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, will be held April 11-13 at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex.

During the Festival, more than 300 students from across the state will perform in plays, attend workshops and be judged on their technical theater skills. Pilar will lead two workshops; one on acting technique and one focusing on getting started in an acting career.

Pilar’s acting credits include a Broadway show, “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” at Lincoln Center. Off-Broadway, she has appeared in shows at the Public Theatre/NY Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Actor’s Studio. She also has appeared in regional theater productions with William Hurt and Katherine Crosby. Her television credits include appearances on “Law and Order,” “Cosby,” “One Life to Live,” “Guiding Light,” “As the World Turns” and “Another World.” Pilar received her bachelor of fine arts from the University of South Carolina, which included a one-year internship at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. She was then accepted to the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, where she received a master of fine arts. When she is not acting, Pilar teaches and directs at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

The Festival opens at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 11, and ends with an awards ceremony at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. At the ceremony, award-winning play and scene performances, and technical theater entries, will be recognized. Two $500 individual scholarships also will be awarded and one educator will be named “Thespian Teacher of the Year.”

Twenty-two schools from across the state will participate in this year’s Festival. There will be 15 plays and 14 scenery entries judged by guest adjudicators. In addition to Pilar, theater professionals will judge technical entries and lead students in workshops.

The Festival’s technical theater categories include costume, lighting, make-up, mask and set design; playwriting; properties; publicity; puppetry; stage management; and tech rodeo. Workshop topics include “Puppetry And Video,” “Designing a Publicity Package,” “Voice And Movement,” “Fabric Dyeing & Shibori Resist Techniques,” “Beginning Unarmed Stage Combat,” “Quarterstaff,” “Linking The Junior High And High School Theater,” “You Can’t Spell Good Performance Without PR!” “Top Ten Things To Remember When Directing,” “Beginning Dance,” “The Script,” “Dressing From The Inside Out: The Skinny Of Underpinning,” “Stage Lighting,” “To Tell The Truth,” “Q&A: Actors Take Action” and “Working With Lightweight Material.”

For more information about the 2002 West Virginia State Thespian Festival, call (304) 558-0220, ext. 120.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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