High Tide Productions capitol honors
Picayune Memorial High School’s theatre troupe, High Tide Productions, was honored on Tuesday, April 1, with the presentation of Senate Concurrent Resolution 624 commending them on their receipt of the Dominic J. Cunetto Award for Best Production at the 2014 Mississippi Theatre Association State Competition, held in Vicksburg.
Senators Tony Smith and Angela Hill, along with Rep. Herb Frierson met with the group and director Bill Rester for the presentation.
The verbiage cited the troupe’s accomplishments over the past two years and stated “… it is with great pride that we pay tribute to these students who have become unofficial ambassadors for the State of Mississippi: “Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Mississippi, the House of Representatives concurring therein, that we do hereby commend and congratulate Picayune Memorial High School’s High Tide Productions for receiving the Award for Best Production at the 2014 Mississippi Theatre Association State Competition, and extend the best wishes of the Legislature for success in future competitions.”
The award, which is given annually to the top theatre program in the state, entitled High Tide Productions to compete at the Southeastern Theatre Conference, held during the first week in March. This year’s Southeastern Theatre Conference Festival took place in Mobile, Alabama, at the Arthur C. Outlaw Convention Center, where High Tide Productions competed with Property Rites, the story of a young man named Kyle Macmanus, who invests millions in an artificially intelligent sculpture.
The art installation, which consists of 15 animatronic females, comes to life, resulting in harrowing consequences for its owner, who is trying to sell it.
“I have watched them over the last couple of years and it is impressive to see them come from a group that no one really knew a lot about to competing for the state title for the past two years,” Smith said. “I think that Mr. Rester has done an amazing job with this group and I am proud of all of them and the community that they represent.”
In addition to advancing to the State Festival, cast member Taylor Danner received the award for Best Actress. The troupe received the award for Best Ensemble, as well as the award for Overall Technical Excellence. Noah Frank was named to the All-Star Cast.
High Tide Productions will be graduating 16 seniors this school year, several of whom will attend local and regional universities and community colleges to further their theatrical careers.
At each level of competition, these students were offered the opportunity to audition for college scholarships. To do this, they performed a 60 to 90 second audition, that consisted of a monologue and song excerpt.
High Tide Productions’ juniors and seniors who auditioned earned 104 callbacks. If they choose to attend, typical awards for theatre majors and minors number anywhere from $5,800.00 to fully funded scholarships. Taylor Danner and Tessa Crump were each awarded $17,000 at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina.
“We had an amazing experience,” Rester said. “Everyone at the Capitol was incredibly friendly and welcoming. It was truly an honor for HTP to not only be recognized for their achievements, but to be brought to the floor of the state Senate was truly humbling. We are grateful to Senators Smith and Hill for all their hard work and hospitality.”
“It was great to have Bill Rester, his family, and his award winning theatre group in the state Capitol,” Hill said. These students’ gpa’s and test scores were also very impressive. I am glad to see them getting a well-rounded high school experience. Thanks to Mr. Rester for his commitment to these students. They will have great memories and be a little better prepared for what life has in store.”
High Tide Productions recently finished a run of Romeo and Juliet and are currently working on Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which will be performed in May.
“It’s always good to recognize the best efforts in our local student body. Whether it is in academics, arts or athletics, recognizing excellence is important for validation of those who have achieved and inspiration of those who hope to achieve,” Frierson said.
“I think they are all doing a great job. I hope they continue to bring positive attention to our community.”