A Look Back At “ThesFest”

Members of Dallastown’s International Thespian Society, attended this year’s PA Thespians State Conference at York College.


Photo Submitted

Actors from the Game of Tiaras from left to right are Abi Trembly, Bry Harris, Mackenzie Brooks, Hannah Lancaster, and Logan O’Shea.

Emily Van Arsdale, Reporter

Picture this… 1100 people walking into an event to do what they love and to participate in workshops to help them succeed — this is ThesFest.

Dallastown High School has attended PA Thespians State Conference, nicknamed “ThesFest”, since 2014, but this year was different because this time, they had a chance to perform a full-length play on the mainstage.

While there, they performed their fall play, Game of Tiaras, made new friendships, and attended workshops to help them in the future. While there, students also auditioned for scholarships, competed in tech challenges, and participated in individual acting events.

Dallastown won the several awards at the event including the Bronze Troupe Award for their production opportunities and community outreach. In addition, Chelsea Sorrels, Ryder Herman, and Kat Ronald were inducted into the PA Thespians Hall of Fame for their all-around work, technical theater work, and acting work.

Kat Ronald earned the All-Star Cast List award for her performance as “Blood Packet Guy” in Game of Tiaras. The All-Star distinction is is sort of the MVP actor from each performance.

Dallastown teacher Mrs. Yuninger advises the Dallastown Performing Arts Club (DPAC) and is the Troupe Leader of the International Thespian Society (ITS) Troupe #7973.

Yuninger joined the Dallastown faculty in 2007, and currently teaches English II (CCR and Honors), Theater Study, Advanced Reading and Study Skills, Honors British Literature, Honors Shakespeare. Next year she will teach African American Literature as well.

She started DPAC in 2008 when then senior Caroline Huball asked her to be the advisor of a drama club that she wanted to start for her graduation project.

“Caroline wanted to ensure it wasn’t something that would end when she left DAHS,” Yuninger said.

ITS began when she asked the DPAC members at the time if they’d be interested in an honors society offering for students involved in the arts, and they were all for it.

“From having to design our set so that it could travel, to experiencing a load-in and tear-down on a tight schedule, to performing for a crowd entirely comprised of other theater students and adult professionals, to getting feedback afterward from theater educators, it was a learning experience like no other,” Yuninger said.

Junior, Abi Trembly has been an ITS member since the November inductions. She says ITS has helped her form numerous friendships and helped her to become more confident in herself.

This was her second year attending ThesFest, but she definitely plans to return next year.

“It was a learning experience like no other.””

— Mrs. Yuninger

Trembly can’t imagine missing it with all the fun she had and all the friendships she’s made this year.

“This year’s conference was much different than sophomore year because we had the honor of doing a Mainstage production of The Game Of Tiaras. It was much more hectic, but it gave me a new appreciation for all parts of our troupe, and it made me sympathize and empathize with the other troupes performing,” Trembley said.

Trembly attended multiple workshops including “Let It Go! Releasing Creativity”, “Acting for Singers”, and “Act the Fight”.

“I would like to tell the student body that no matter what you’re interested in, never be afraid to throw yourself into the community surrounding that activity full force. People with similar interests are so supportive and welcoming, and the friends you can find can be extremely meaningful,” Trembly said.


Dallastown students and staff pose at York College this January for ThesFest.