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Drama Students of South Dade Senior High in need of funding to attend Nationals

South Dade Senior High Drama Department

Broadway Global shares the story of an award winning theatre department that may not get represented, if these talented South Dade Senior High School Drama students can't find funding to attend Nationals. The first time state win could be heartbreaking. The play was written by their Drama teacher Juan Espinosa, so these students are even more determined to find every avenue for funding for this national competition.

One student found social media as a choice to call out for help. Jose had seen arts related post in Florida Theatre Chat with 9,600 arts lovers posting auditions and shows on Facebook, so Jose quested the need for funding. Without sponsors for their trip to Nabraska, these gifted students with Florida's award winning play may not make its' mark at Nationals. Jose may be just one student at South Dade Senior High School, but the entire Drama Troupe 3637, located in Homestead, Florida have an new award winning play by their teacher Juan Espinosa and they won't give up on. They created a GoFundMe account to sponsor the trip at But the monies are not close and the date of registration is just around the corner.

"Amygdala" tells the story of James, who is a man determined to find his wife in a world filled with confusion and questions. Reality, imagination and love are challenged to the brink of insanity as he encounters several female characters who are trying to get him to leave his wife in the world that they have been trapped in. Cloaked chorus members and the dark shadow progress the journey as they move throughout the play to establish the abstract surroundings of the play that drive James to the depths of his soul.

How did South Dade Senior High School Drama students do at States? What allowed you to qualify to go to Internationals? "We were one of five schools who’s one-act play was chosen to represent Miami-Dade County at the State Theatre Festival. This festival is the largest festival on earth. It has more than 7,000 participants who attend each year. At this festival there are two separate competitions. In the IE (Individual Events) competition, our students received 4 excellent rated performances in Make-Up Design, Costume Design, Duet Musical & Small Group Musical."

"South Dade Senior High School drama students received 3 superior rated performances in Monologues and Pantomime, which qualified to compete at Internationals. The premier competition at this event is the One-Act competition. Over 50 schools perform a one-act play (Not to exceed 40min.) and each play is given a rating of poor, fair, good, excellent or superior. The adjudicators that are chosen to give each play their rating are Theatre professionals from across the state, and most of the time from around the country. Only one superior-rated play is chosen to represent the entire state of Florida."

"After receiving almost perfect scores in all categories of this event, the adjudicators felt that South Dade Senior High School drama program's production of "Amygdala" was the best play that they had screened in the entire festival, and would be the best choice to represent the state of Florida at the International Thespian Festival held in Lincoln, Nebraska this upcoming June."

South Dade Senior High School helped us describe what internationals is all about and what you will be competing in. Each state that has a state thespian chapter will be represented by a one one-act play and that will get adjudicated by a panel of Theatre professionals from around the world. To some, this festival is referred to as Nationals, because it is the next level after the state competition and all states go there to compete, but I have been told recently that it is actually The International Theatre Festival because the festival invites thespian troupes from around the world to come and compete. Japan is often represented, among several others.

The festival is not only a competition, but an opportunity for several different amazing experiences for the students. There are country-wide auditions for colleges that Juniors can take advantage of. Also, seniors will be able to audition for scholarships. Students can audition at the beginning of the festival for one of the four original scripts that are chosen from around the country to be performed at the end of the festival. Students that are casted, have rehearsals throughout the week, and get to perform an original play for thousands at the end of the festival. There is a tech challenge where students can compete in groups in a technical Theatre Olympics where one school in the country is chosen as the best technical theatre team. There will be Main Stages (Full length musical and plays) of the highest caliber that will be seen throughout the festival. There are IE auditions, where pieces that received superiors from around the country compete to be a part of a national showcase. There is also a freestyle play competition where schools perform any performance piece they would like to get feedback from judges and get an opportunity to perform at the festival. Mr. Adriel Garcia, the other drama teacher and chorus teacher at our school, will be taking a production to compete in this event of the festival. Throughout the festival there will also be workshops taught by professionals from around the country, that help students learn different masters level theatre skills. In conclusion, the students will be in a 24/7 learning environment for this week-long event.

What are your financial necessities for South Dade Senior High School toattend?
"In the next few weeks we are faced with a huge challenge. As we have just invested all of our funds and resources in getting all of our qualifying students to the state competition, we currently have insufficient funds in order to attend this incredible festival competition. It is imperative that we raise over $100,000 if we wish to take advantage of this opportunity. The cost includes airfare, housing, registration and meals. Unfortunately the time frame involved, requires us to raise about $31,000 by May 7, 2014 to pay for the registration fees. This fee includes festival registration, housing on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and all meals for the week of the festival (June 23-28, 2014). This is an extremely large amount for all of our students to have to pay in such a short amount of time. We are now reaching out the community for help. Sponsors will be placed in the South Dade Senior High School show’s playbill to be seen by thousands of people on a national level. I hope that people and businesses can help us in our goals. Our students are our future, and these students are truly deserving of this honor and this opportunity. Without help, Florida might be the only state not represented! If you would like to make any contribution today, please make the check out to “The South Dade Senior High School Theatre Department” or donate online at our account at .

What other successes has South Dade Senior High School had this year? "We have had three successful Theatre productions this year and are planning on having two more productions before the end of the year. At the IE district competition held in November, we received 14 “superior” markings and 10 “excellent” markings (“Superior” = 1st place & “Excellent” = 2nd place). The results of this district competition are the best results that I have ever gotten as a drama teacher thus far. At the One-Act district competition where we were chosen as a representative of Miami-Dade county, our student Marco Guerra, received “The Best Actor” award of the festival, which is a huge feat. Elise Hollant received an “All Star Cast” award, which is given to the best actors of the festival. We are state champions!"

"The story of "Amygdala" first began in a play writing course I was taking at FIU. I wrote the beginning of a play that I tentatively called “The Apple”. It was a medieval type play about a schizophrenic man named, King James, who was in constant battle with this opposing force and his army consisted of 5 women with very distinct personalities, who were all a figment of his imagination, along with the medieval world that he created in his mind to cope with the death of his wife. I used some of the aspects of that play to inspire me to write "Amygdala". I had put that play on the back burner for a long time. At the start of the year I discussed different ideas with my students on which play we were going to submit for competition, and I showed them the first page of what would later become "Amygdala". The students loved the idea, and thought it would be cool to do something original. I held auditions for a non-written play and cast people according to their acting abilities and their ability to bring life to characters that I was planning on creating. As rehearsals began, I began writing as the students and I explored characters and the plot. The love of my life, Mrs. Mabel Mir (my wife, who is also a fellow theatre teacher) helped me edit and organize the play and make it understandable. It was definitely a collaborative labor of love that I am extremely proud of."

Quotes from the South Dade Senior High School students will tear at your heart. Broadway Global hopes a Theatre producer or arts sponsor jumps in, to keep the magic of new award winning theatre alive for these talented artists! This kids are the future of arts just read their excitement for the work, play and hopes for nationals. "It's a great opportunity for everyone" - Hilda Rey, "It was a great feeling bringing life to something that's new" - Kristina Carr, "It took hard work and alot of commitment, with a great prize in the end" - Nicole Garcia "It's given me the opportunity to have life changing experiences I thought I'd never had" - Melissa Hernandez, "I would really be devastated and feel that I was neglected by my community if I didn't get to go. We've all worked so hard in reaching out to everyone possible. It would feel like our accomplishments meant nothing! - Phanesia Pharel. Broadway global share the GoFund me account for those who may want to keep the magic of theatre alive for these award winning kids. Visit

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