Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival

Thursday, Nov 16-Saturday, Nov 18, 2017
Host venue: UW-Whitewater

Click here for the 2017 festival program»

For almost 30 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 29th, 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.

View the 2017 schedule here»

Advanced registration is closed. General festival registration ($25/person) will be available onsite at the registration desk at the festival starting at 8am on Friday.

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 2017 WHSTF will be included in the festival Program available for download Nov 14, 2017. Workshop subjects that have been included in past years include: acting, auditioning, stage combat, costumes, dance, improvisation, mime, musical theatre, and tech.

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 18, 2017.

View/download this PDF for full details»

Partners to the WHSTF

Wisconsin High School Forensic Association»

Meet your theatre festival director

Sarah Marty (MBA, MS) is director of our arts programs. With expertise in theatre, music, and arts entrepreneurship, she serves as a liaison to the performing arts communities on campus, in Madison, and throughout the state. In addition to teaching UW Arts Enterprise courses and nonprofit management workshops, she serves as a producer for large-scale collaborative events and programs.

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