By Lea M.

Musical theatre is a magical thing. It can be a safe place with people like yourself, people who understand the importance of getting to show others who you are. A meaningful part of this is getting to meet others like yourself, who share a passion for the arts. One of the incredible ways to do this is to attend JTF, or the Junior Theatre Festival. Going to JTF can give you the experience of a lifetime, a new world filled with people who share a similar passion to you.

The Junior Theatre Festival is a celebration of what makes us all unique, a celebration of passion. The festival lasts over the course of a single weekend, with theatre groups coming from all over the world. When you go to JTF, you take a 15-minute cut of a show that your theatre group has done in the past year to present to a panel of judges. They will critique your work, and you are given the opportunity to earn one of many awards, ranging from best choreography to All-Star. 

After you present on the first day, you get to go to workshops led by Broadway professionals in singing, dance, and acting. You then go to presentations and interviews with famous actors and directors from various Broadway shows. On the final night is the New Works Showcase, where certain theatre groups are selected to perform a couple of numbers from the new Jr shows. Along with the showcase is the Freddy G. Award Ceremony, honoring all the chosen All-Stars, outstanding, and the other incredible performances of the past weekend. The Junior Theatre Festival exposes students to experiences unlike any other and is such an important part of many student’s lives.

JTF is an incredibly important experience for the students who participate in it. It helps teach them to put themselves out there and shows them the magic of musical theatre. You can connect with theatre troupes from all over the world and make new friends. In addition, going to the festival can increase your knowledge of technical theatre, and overall improve your skills. Being in musical theatre means that you are automatically exposed to music, technology, and even visual arts with sets and props. Being a part of musical theatre, and the Junior Theatre Festival has changed my life forever.

I have been going to the Junior Theatre Festival for five years, and I can say with absolute certainty that it is one of my favorite events of the year. It has allowed me to make many new friends, and to support others who love the same things as me. Last year especially, as my theatre group and another were selected to perform three songs from Newsies Jr. in the New Works Showcase. It changed my life, getting to perform on a giant stage with my friends, in front of thousands of people. Through my experience with the festival I have grown as a person, technically and morally.

The Junior Theatre Festival is an unbelievable experience, one that I treasure every year. Full of friends, hope, and talent, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. It will provide you with valuable information about technical theatre, allow you to meet Broadway professionals, and meet new people. If you have the opportunity to go, seize it!

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