06.28.12 @

LINCOLN, NE – (June 26h, 2012) For the 18th year in a row, over 2,000 high school students and hundreds of their sponsors, educators and chaperones have traveled from around the world to the Lied Center for Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the annual International Thespian Festival. The young actors represent some of the best and most highly-motivated theatrical talent in the U.S. and abroad.

 The University of Nebraska-Lincoln city-campus and downtown Lincoln provide an ideal setting for this international festival with a combination of several world-class performing arts facilities, hotels, entertainment and other amenities nearby. The festival utilizes multiple campus facilities, including the Lied Center for Performing Arts, Temple Building, Kimball Recital Hall, Westbrook Music Building, Mabel Lee Hall, and several other academic buildings and residence halls. A 2009 study by the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism estimates the annual economic impact of the International Thespian Festival at approximately $560,000 for businesses in the City of Lincoln.

 "The International Thespian Festival brings together some of the most talented theater students in the world to the Lied Center each summer," said Bill Stephan, Lied Center Executive Director. "From high school productions on the Lied’s main stage to workshops and audition sessions, the Lied Center is proud to help present the International Thespian Festival each year." Stephan said the entire campus community came together over 15 years ago to meet the special needs and accommodations for the conference, and continues to work together providing an exceptional experience to the group year after year. The conference is one of many camps and conferences hosted during the summer at UNL.

Students at the festival are aged 12 and older, and come from as close as Lincoln, NE and as far away as Saipan to attend.  Lincoln High School Senior Catherine Burns qualified for the festival in solo musical theater and said attending the festival is “a great place to connect with students around the world that are passionate about theater and to share learning experiences with them.”

Throughout the week students participate in the festival main stage, one-acts: freestyle theatre & chapter select showcase, national individual events showcase, thespian playworks, student leadership programs, tech challenge and college and scholarship auditions,. Professional development is also available for teachers attending the conference in addition to a variety of festival grant opportunities.

 More information regarding the festival is available online at schooltheatre.org/events/festival or by calling 402.472.5142.