My Favorite Shows From Theatre Fest

My favorite shows from Theatre Fest


Burke Cochran, Editorials Editor

Curated by the Illinois Theatre Association, Theatre Fest is a festival for Illinois High Schools that celebrates all things theatre. It’s held every year and switches locations between UIUC and ISU.

I’ve went to Theatre Fest since my freshman year. Every year, there’s been some shows that stand out.


Shows get to be in Theatre Fest by a selection process. Schools submit shows to be reviewed by a selection committee, and if they think the show is good enough it gets to be in Theatre Fest.


My first year there were two really good shows. The first was She Kills Monsters, and the description of the show painted a harrowing tale of a woman trying to find out more about her loving sister who tragically died. And while this was the plot of the show, I wouldn’t exactly describe it as harrowing. The sister attempts to find out more about her sister through a board game – specifically Dungeons and Dragons – and it makes the funniest show I saw there. Especially because we went in with expectations for this to be a sad show, the shock factor added to the comedic value. Mrs. Wendy Taylor liked the show so much we even did it at our school the next year.


The other show I saw my Freshman year was a show that was actually really sad. This show was called The Fourth Graders Present An Unnamed Love Suicide. It started out really weird, like, really weird. The show is portrayed by high schoolers pretending to be fourth graders. It’s kind-of like a show within a show in that the fourth graders are performing a play to explain the events that led one of the kids in their class to commit suicide. It was a really unique style of acting in that they literally acted like they were kids just trying to get their lines right, but it made it a really immersive experience.


My Sophomore year, I had another show that stood out. This show was called Equus. You may have heard of it because it’s the show Robert Pattinson was in naked. Before getting into the details of this show; however, it’s important that you know how we got into this show.


Tickets for each show are distributed equally between all of the schools, so shows with a smaller area will have less shows to go around. Equus was in a black box with maybe 60 seats. So our school had two tickets. If you don’t end up getting a ticket for it, like I did, you can wait outside and hope that there will be extra seats and they will let people in until the seats are filled.


So, I was waiting in like and I was the last person let in the show, which I was super happy about because this show was really good. But again, really weird. Told from the view of a psychologist, this show focuses on a seventeen year old boy who came to worship horses, like, in a religious way. He does some irky irky with the horses, until eventually he goes crazy and blinds the six horses with a stick in the middle of the night. A weird story, but memorable.


Lastly, is my favorite show from this year. Again, I did not have tickets and this show was very popular. We ended up waiting in line for SIX HOURS. Just to get in. The Laramie Project was the title of this show and it was unique because it played out more like a documentary than a play. It was told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and letters following the death of twenty-one year old, Matthew Shepard, who was brutally beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming because of his sexual orientation. This show had a few big morals such as standing up to hate and just in general had a lot of moments that made you shiver.