This was my inaugural trip to the Shakespearian Festival and it was quite an experience. 3000 students and 118 schools; 40 of which competed in The Tech Olympics. For those that are not familiar with The Tech Olympics it consists of putting ten tables, equally spaced in a circle in a large ballroom. Each table has a couple of officials and a specific set of tasks within the technical side of theater. One table was identifying specific types of eyebolts, tying a clove hitch and securing it with two half hitches to a bar and then tying a bowline. Another station had a mixer, powered speaker, and a couple of microphones. The task was to get audio through the system as quickly as possible, not as easy as it first appeared. Each school had a small team that would attempt to complete the assigned task as quickly as possible without help or direction of any kind. The rest of the students from their school would stand behind them and shout chants and sing at the top of there lungs with each school trying to outdo the other schools.
I suppose what struck me most was that all of those students wanted to be there. I have taught my share of students' -mostly high school and older- and even the adults may start to loose focus after a short time. But these students wanted to be there and soaked up everything I could throw at them. They asked in depth questions and were completely engaged, which any teacher will tell you that this curiosity makes the job far easier than the alternative. If this is the type of men and women that will comprise the next generation of actors and techies then I think theater world will be well served.