In the high school theater scene, scheduling conflicts are inevitable.

Carroll County high schools often hold stage productions on the same weekend.

It prevents actors and tech crews from seeing their peers at other schools perform.

No matter. That's what Drama Fest is for.

Students from every county public high school got a chance to perform for their peers at Drama Fest at Carroll Community College in Westminster Friday.

The drama clubs each performed snippets from either a fall or spring production. North Carroll High School started with emotionally gripping snippets from "Les Miserables." And so it continued as each school showcased their standout performers.

There were on-stage kisses, complicated choreography, slapstick comedy, tap dancing and more during more than three hours' worth of performances from the eight high schools.

"It's a fun day with like-minded individuals," said Manchester Valley's Emma Shipley, one of the students who shared an on-stage lip-lock with actor Julian Schoming that drew woos from other students. "All of the drama students don't get a chance to see what everyone else is doing."

This was the second consecutive year Drama Fest was hosted by Carroll Community College in Westminster. Theater director Bill Gillett said he enjoys having the high school students on campus. The school's Scott Center, with slightly more than 400 seats, is just large enough to fit the participating students.

Seth Schwartz, Carroll's theatre facilities coordinator, emceed the morning.

Schwartz and Gillett also helped organize a series of theater workshops during the afternoon. Topics ranged from auditioning skills to vocal dialects to directing.

Each student could participate in two workshops.

South Carroll students Ben McCardell and Gregory Curtis were drawn to Dance for Musical Theatre, taught by Jen Graham, the owner of Project C Studios in Westminster.

"I decided to take both sessions here," said McCardell, indicating dance choreography was one aspect of theater he felt he needed to work on.

While students were in classes, the drama club teachers from each school met in Carroll Community College's Great Hall, where they shared planned performance dates and the productions they were interested in doing. By doing that, it avoids duplication.

As it turned out, there will be a few scheduling conflicts once more, where some students simply won't be able to catch shows that their fellow classmates are working on.

So they will just have to wait until Drama Fest to see what everyone is working on next year.

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