Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival

Thursday, Nov 19-Saturday, Nov 21, 2015
Host venue: UW-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI
Showcase venue: UW-Whitewater Young Auditorium

Click here for the 2015 festival program»




For 25 years, hundreds of high school students have gathered at the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival (WHSTF) for 3 days packed with dozens of workshops and live performances. This year, the festival’s 26th, UW-Madison will partner with UW-Whitewater. The WHSTF provides students and teachers an opportunity to learn from trained theatre professionals and educators, to take the stage, and to watch their peers perform. All Wisconsin high schools are invited to participate.

At a glance

What: Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival

When: Th Nov 19-Sat Nov 21, 2015

Where: UW Whitewater

Cost: Vary. See event details page for more information.

Questions? Contact festival coordinator Sarah Marty, 608-263-2790 or sarah.marty@wisc.edu

What is the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival?

The WHSTF is a 3-day theatre experience for high school students and teachers. The festival consists of educational theatre workshops, the forensic one-act play competition, and evening events. The evening events include 2 Wisconsin high schools that are chosen to showcase their school's theatrical production to festival participants.

All teachers and students will receive a hard copy of the program when each school checks in on site at the festival.

Prior registration is required. How to register»

Forensic one-act plays

One-act plays are scheduled throughout the day on Friday and Saturday in conjunction with workshops. High schools throughout Wisconsin come to the theatre festival to perform their one-act play at the state level. Students perform their play and receive adjudication from festival judges. Participating students are welcome to watch any one-act plays. One-act performances are a great educational opportunity for students to receive constructive criticism from theatre professionals to enhance their theatrical abilities.

Family, friends and students not participating in the one-act competition are welcome to attend the festival, one-act performances, and workshops for a $25 general festival registration fee.

Family and friends who are not attending the theatre festival are welcome as well and may purchase time block tickets ($7 per time block) on site to view a performance. Each block ticket includes a 90-minute session and 2 one-act performances.


Theatre festival workshops are scheduled throughout the day on Friday and Saturday in conjunction with forensic one-act plays. Workshops are an educational opportunity for students and teachers to expand their theatrical experience in a fun and relaxed environment. All participating students and teachers are welcome to attend. Workshops are taught by highly qualified instructors who have been involved in theatre and theatre education for numerous years. Information regarding workshops for the 2015 WHSTF will be included in the festival Program available for download Nov 13, 2015. Workshop subjects that have been included in past years include: acting, auditioning, stage combat, costumes, dance, improvisation, mime, musical theatre, and tech. Proposals will be accepted in September.

Tech olympics

Tech olympics is a great way to test your technical skills in a fun and friendly competition with your peers. Actors, designers, directors, technicians, and theatre enthusiasts are invited to participate. Pre-registration is not necessary.
PLEASE NOTE: Tech Olympics will take place on Saturday, November 21, 2015.

View/download this PDF for full details»

Showcase performances

Each year the Wisconsin High School Forensic Assocation and WHSTF select 2 schools that are highlighted with showcase performances during the festival. Tickets ($7) are available through your school registration or in person at the festival in the theater lobby starting 1 hour before each showcase performance. Doors open 30 minutes before each performance. Onsite purchases are cash or check only. Showcase performances for WHSTF 2015 will take place in the Young Auditorium on Thursday 11/19 at 8pm and Friday 11/20 at 4pm and 8pm.

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 8:00pm
The Scarlet Heart
The Scarlet Heart, Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids

Friday, November 20, 2015, 4:00pm and 8:00pm
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Middleton High School

Learn more»

Partners to the WHSTF

Wiscsonsin High School Forensic Association»
UW Whitewater Department of Theatre & Dance»

Meet your theatre festival coordinator

Sarah Marty (MBA, MS) is director of all Continuing Studies arts programs. She has 3 degrees from UW-Madison: an MAB from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration, an MS in Curriculum & Instruction, and a BA in Music Education. Sarah has been a member of the production staff for the UW Varsity Band Concert since 2000 and has taught in both the Middleton-Cross Plains and the Madison Metropolitan Area School Districts. In addition, she is managing director of Four Seasons Theatre Company.

Get more details about the schedule, hosting an exhibit, event details, and registration.