Four area high schools will advance to the state finals later this month in two divisions in the 84th annual Maine Drama Festival.

In Class A, Skowhegan Area High School, performing “The Taming of the Shrew,” and Waterville Senior High School, with its rendition of “April Fish,” came out on top in competition this past weekend.

Competitions were held Friday and Saturday at Skowhegan Area High School and at Lawrence High School in Fairfield. The state Class A finals are set for March 20-21 at Bangor High School.

In Class B competition, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield advances with “The Orphan Train,” performed at Lawrence, and Monmouth Academy will appear in the state finals with its performance of “The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World.” Class B finals are March 20-21 at Stearns High School in Millinocket.

Class A participating schools must have an enrollment of at least 525 students. Class B schools must have fewer than 525 students.

“Our students did tremendous work presenting challenging material,” said Maura Smith, Skowhegan’s speech and theater director. “Our students did great work with challenging material. Even so, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We will be fine-tuning the show, making a few changes.”

More than 2,500 Maine high school students from 78 high schools were expected to compete in this year’s Drama Festival. The annual event is sponsored by the Maine Principals’ Association and the Maine Drama Council.

Schools present plays ranging from the classics to original student-written plays. Winners from each regional were selected by a panel of judges to advance to the state finals.

Skowhegan’s former director Robin Lisherness, who is now an adviser and selects the judges locally, said he will be the emcee and clerk of judges at the Class A finals in Bangor.

“It’s great to see that the annual drama festivals are as important as ever to Maine’s high schools with participation still booming,” Lisherness said. “The number of Maine schools competing each year is bested only by Massachusetts in New England, and the number of Maine schools outnumbers those of New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. We must be doing something right.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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