The Fort Bend Christian Academy (FBCA) Theatre and American Sign Language (ASL) teams took their shadow play, Aladdin Jr. to the Junior Theater Festival (JTF), leaving a lasting mark with their exceptional performances, earning accolades, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
At the Freddie G Awards Ceremony, FBCA students were honored with an "Excellence in Music" award for their outstanding performance of Aladdin Jr. ASL student, Senior Alyssa Cook, garnered the "Outstanding Performance by an Individual" award for her portrayal of the ASL Genie.
Technical Track student, Senior Katie Breedlove, earned the title of Technical Theatre All-Star for the second consecutive year. Her innovative set and costume designs impressed workshop leaders, providing her the opportunity to work backstage alongside Broadway-professional stage managers and technical crew at the New Works Showcase and Freddie G Awards Ceremony.
Seniors Jack Brown and Matthew Schwab were recognized as All-Star Cast members, participating in a special dance workshop and Q&A session. In the JTF Tech Olympics, Senior Katie Breedlove, Senior Lillian Drennon, Sophomore Zachary Rudge, and Senior Elissa Wrenn showcased their technical prowess, securing first place in their competition group.
Sophomore Gabrielle Anthony and Senior Katie Volmert represented FBCA at the iTheatrics Choreography Videos, earning callbacks after showcasing their exceptional choreography and vocal skills. This elite experience involves traveling to New York City over the summer to create and perform in choreography demonstration videos used in musical licensing kits across the country.
Senior Ime James and Junior Sophia Polasek were selected as Social Media Ambassadors, representing FBCA at the festival. They shared the group's journey across social media platforms and participated in special workshops led by RPM, a leading social media management company for Broadway productions.
"Attending JTF has shown me that I can achieve far more than I ever thought was possible, and that the most important part of a performance is the unspeakable joy and love behind it," ASL 5 Student and Senior, Katie Volmert said.
"Going to JTF, I felt the joy from the actors performing and I saw the talent that each and everyone of them had, and it definitely left a large impact on me. Seeing the original Aladdin (Adam Jacobs, in Concert) and so many amazing actors perform on a stage right in front of us brought theatre to life for me," Production Theater Student and Sophomore, Lea Farah said.
"Of all the amazing experiences of the weekend, my absolute favorite was seeing my students introduce themselves to a young Deaf middle schooler who was also in attendance at the festival! To see them all communicating and sharing their love for the language brought me immense joy! The impact our group created last year by proving that theatre can seamlessly incorporate ASL and provide theatre for all was very evident!," ASL Teacher and Director, Elyse DeBuck said.
"Our second year at JTF was even better than the last! So many of our students were recognized for their myriad talents, but beyond any trophy or award this troupe delivered an awe-inducing performance of Aladdin Jr. and continued to inspire others who are developing ASL theatre programs in their communities. We are so grateful to let God’s light shine bright at JTF Atlanta and beyond!," Director and Theater Teacher, Sarah Patterson said.
The FBCA Theatre and ASL teams' second year journey at the Junior Theater Festival 2024 surpassed expectations, showcasing their talent, dedication, and commitment to making theatre accessible to all. The awards, recognitions, and inspiring performances at JTF Atlanta will undoubtedly shape the future of these talented students, leaving a lasting impact on their artistic journeys.