Singley Academy students Jody Gardiner and Ash Guzman are headed to nationals after qualifying at this year’s Texas Thespians State Festival. Both Gardiner and Guzman submitted a portfolio showcasing their work in stage management in a production of their choice. 

“As part of the state competition, we presented our portfolio and walked the judges through what we did as stage managers as well as what we learned during that production,” says Guzman, a junior at Singley Academy. “My portfolio included a report that outlined every actor’s movements, when lights and sound are supposed to happen, etc. On top of that, I included other key components such as rehearsal reports, calendars, attendance, entrances and exits.”

“To be able to compete in theater, and make it to nationals, my parents could not wrap their heads around that,” says Gardiner, a sophomore at Singley Academy. “They got on the phone and called my entire family that same night!”

To put into perspective, this is the first year that Singley Academy theater students have ever advanced to the national level. 

“We’re really proud of the work these students have done,” says Jennifer Polansky, Auditorium Manager for Irving ISD. “Both Jody and Ash have been leaders in our troupe, inspired others, and they are the ones that we count on to keep things going here. They are amazing at what they do.”

Next stop – Indiana University Bloomington, as Gardiner and Guzman will head to nationals to compete at the 2024 International Thespian Festival from June 23 through June 28. 

During the weeklong festival, they will have the opportunity to grow their knowledge with interactive workshops on every aspect of theater — onstage, backstage and front-of-house. But the fun doesn’t stop there. They will also experience performances of all types – read-throughs, improv, student works, Shakespeare, one-acts and full-scale main stage productions. 

After high school, Guzman hopes to pursue a career in theater, art or the medical field. Gardiner is considering a career in nursing or becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). In the meantime, they’ll be enjoying their time both onstage and backstage for the foreseeable future.

Irving ISD wishes you the best of luck at nationals!