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Tide theatre has come a long way

By William Rester

Guest Columnist 

Hello! My name is William Rester, and I am the Director of Theatre at Picayune Memorial High School. As a PMHS graduate and employee, I have spent more than 1/3 of my 33 years wandering the halls here, and I have to say that it’s an amazing time to be a member of the Maroon Tide Nation. I have the fortune to come to work everyday in an environment where knowledge is sacred, and people are special. Furthermore, our young men and women are encouraged by a nurturing staff and administration to engage themselves in sports, academics, and the arts.

For the last six years, I have been tirelessly promoting Theatre here at PMHS. I spent four years performing in shows under Connie Sable, I leaped at the chance to lead my own program here. In the intervening years, we have come a long way. As time has gone by the number of troupe members has grown, and so have the awards. I’m proud to say that this year, in Vicksburg, was finally the year that we took home the Dominic J. Cunetto Award for Best Production. The award, given in memory of the former Mississippi State Theatre Department Chair, allows the troupe to perform at the national theatre competition, SETC, or the Southeastern Theatre Conference.

Competition in the state is tough. One doesn’t normally think of theatre in sporting terms, but Mississippi is full of schools who have staked out reputations as artistic powerhouses. To win the state championship in only our sixth year in competition is quite an honor, indeed. I have watched my actors and crew grow into competent performers, and to receive this award leaves my heart full.

In addition to the major award, High Tide Productions also received the award for Overall Technical Excellence. Winning this award signifies that we had the best crew in the competition. I heartily agree. One of our students, Taylor Danner, was the recipient of the Mississippi Theatre Association Scholarship. This is given annually to a student who plans to study theatre at a Mississippi college. To win this honor, Taylor beat out 73 other students who auditioned.

We also had three individual event winners, too. Tessa Crump and Taylor Danner placed 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the Solo Female Musical Category, and Alyssa Duffourc placed 3rd in Costume Design.

If you haven’t been to see a show yet, you’re definitely missing out. College professors throughout the entire state have remarked that PMHS students could teach their programs a thing or two. Please connect with us on Facebook to find out the next show date as we prepare for our trip to Nationals.

(William is the Director of Theatre at Picayune Memorial High School.)