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Making a scene
International Thespian Society Troupe 456 puts itself center stage in the WHHS community
March 11, 2020
There’s something about murder that just gets WHHS International Thespian Society Troupe 456 going.
“The Murder Mystery is… definitely one of my favorite memories of this department now,” society member SENIOR Gabrielle Phillips said.
This past October, the WHHS Thespian Society put on an improv-based Murder Mystery Party. Nearly all Troupe members, including the Troupe historian, SENIOR Grace Kelly Fulton, mentioned the night as one of their favorite Thespian Society memories.
“We created a Murder Mystery Party over Halloween, and it was so much fun,” Fulton said.
The Murder Mystery Party is just one among the many activities the Troupe has conducted this year, as co-presidents SENIORS Iris LeCates and Talia Raider-Roth seek to make the Society more open to outside members.
From a theatre trivia night to a white elephant party, Troupe 456 seeks to engage not just official inductees, but the entire WHHS community. Judging by the reactions from their members, they are certainly succeeding.
The International Thespian Society is not unique to WHHS. Members are inducted each year from around the world. Once someone is inducted into the society as a high-schooler, they hold the distinction of being a Thespian for life, and the Society boasts an alumni pool of over 2.4 million, including stars like Adam Driver and Tom Hanks.
It is a great honor to be an inductee into the WHHS Thespian Society. The initiation process is particularly intriguing, with prospective members chosen by theatre department heads based on a points-based system tracking theatre involvement and “tapped” during their classes.
However, getting involved in theatre activities does not necessarily entail acting. WHHS students can earn credit towards joining the organization by working behind the scenes, a route LeCates and Troupe Secretary SENIOR Piper Johnson took to be inducted during their sophomore year.
The induction ceremony occurs at the WHHS Theatre Department’s annual Season Announcement Party.
“The induction ceremony is very lengthy, and there’s candles and Greek things that we have to read,” Johnson said.
Although the Society is well-ingrained in the WHHS Theatre Department, it gained more visibility this past fall, when its club charter was approved by Student Congress. The club elected officers, including two co-presidents, LeCates and Raider-Roth.
“Talia and I work together to handle the like management of the club, but we divide and conquer certain responsibilities,” LeCates said.
The club is working on involving itself in the WHHS community by doing marketing for the theatre department’s productions and activities that expose younger students to the possibility of theatre.
The club is likewise expanding its fundraising outreach into the community. Society Treasurer Sophia Rooksberry, ‘22, is planning activities that will both generate revenue for the Troupe and expand its presence in the WHHS community, with a “craft night” planned for March 17.
“We can sell old show shirts for people who want some… we can decorate them and we might do a bake sale there as well,” Rooksberry said.
The Society overall is a snapshot of the culture behind the performances the WHHS Theatre Department puts on throughout the school year. Behind the scenes of plays like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and Urinetown is a vibrant theatre community of actors, costume designers, and lightboard operators, among others.
“We get points by being in the crew for a show or being an actor for show, and also some points come from shop hours or being involved in our activities with the club,” Raider-Roth said.
Nonetheless, this tight-knit community appears to be opening its doors to outside members. Troupe member Alexandra Kirk, ‘21, recommends that younger students get involved like she has.
“If you want to do Thespian Society or get inducted into Thespian Society, a great start is to just try and come to meetings. They’re always, or almost always, on the announcements,” Kirk said.
For now, one thing is for sure: when it comes to outreach, Thespian Society Troupe 456 is killing it.