Martinsburg High School students to perform fundraising-show ahead of trip to International Thespian Festival

By Matthew Young, RealWV

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – The Martinsburg High School Theatre Department, on Thursday, will be performing Terry Gabbard’s “Our Place” at the historic Apollo Civic Theatre. This one-night-only performance will serve as a fundraiser for the high school’s “Thespian Troupe 502,” ahead of their  planned trip to the International Thespian Festival at Indiana University next month. 

“We’re going to have a show for the community at our local theatre to showcase what we’ve been doing,” Sound Technician, and soon-to-be Martinsburg High School graduate Declan Mungovan told RealWV on Monday. “It’s also to raise money so that we can get to the international festival – we’ve had to do a lot of fundraising.”

In support of their fundraising efforts, Troupe 502 set up a “go fund me” campaign. However, the campaign has thus far raised less than a quarter of its goal. Fortunately for the 20 students hoping to make the trip, other fundraising efforts have produced moderately better results.

“We’re getting a little closer to our goal,” Mungovan said. “Originally we were going to have to pay $1,000 apiece, but now it’s down to around $400, I think.”

Our Place is the Theatre Department’s “competition show.” Along with first-year Drama Instructor and Program Director Magdalene Kelly, the students have been refining their performance all year. 

“We took it (Our Town) to a regional festival in February,” Mungovan said. “From there, we went to the state festival, and we won there. Now it’s on to the international festival.”

The International Thespian Festival runs from June 19 through June 23. After he returns to West Virginia, Mungovan plans to attend West Virginia University (WVU), where he will be pursuing a degree in Technical Theatre Design. 

As for Thursday night’s performance, Mungovan said, “People are going to see the competition show – they’re going to see the full thing.”

“Each scene in the play features different characters in different time frames,” Mungovan continued. “So there’s a high school romance scene, there’s a family scene, there’s one with ex-spouses, and there’s another one with a daughter who is dealing with her father’s dementia.” 

“The last scene is of a teenager running away from home,” Mungovan added. “It goes up and down. Some parts are more comedic, and some parts are more dramatic. It gets the audience going up and down too – people are either laughing or crying.”

In total, Our Place contains five distinct vignettes. Each scene in the play takes place utilizing the same set design – a dock extending out onto a small lake. The play has become popular among high school and college drama departments since its publication in 2015, and has been performed all across the United States.

Mungovan’s mother, Lisa, told RealWV, “We’re so proud of these kids for going to internationals. It’s the director’s (Kelly) first year teaching, so this is a great accomplishment for her as well. It’s just such a great group.”

The Apollo Civic Theatre is located at 128 East Martin Street in Martinsburg. The performance of Our Town is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday evening. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and will be available at the ticket booth the night of the show. All proceeds will go towards Thespian Troupe 502’s trip to Indiana University for the 2023 International Thespian Festival. 

For those wishing to contribute to Thespian Troupe 502’s go fund me campaign, you may do so by following the link here

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