The Illinois Theatre Association


Are You Living or Existing? IHSTF 2023 theme logo with tree showing roots

Welcome from the IHSTF Executive Director Minimize

47th Annual Illinois High School Theatre Festival
January 12-14, 2023
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

What a joy it is to welcome you all to the 47th Annual Illinois High School Theatre Festival, hosted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Ever since my first time attending Festival as a student way back before most of you were born, I have wanted to be a part of this legacy…and here we are.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge and applaud the past two years of Festival organizers, planners, hopers, and dreamers. These folks worked tirelessly to shape a space for theatre-goers to build a culture of wonder and ambition. The Executive Director for 2021 and 2022, Judy Klingner, was able to keep the dream alive through a number of virtual events. I applaud her for taking the helm and leading us through the darkness.

Her theme, In the Theatre ALL are Welcome, resonates with me still to this day as EVERYONE deserves a seat at the table…and a spot on the stage. The Festival was, is, and will continue to be a culture of acceptance, support, and hope as we continue to assemble a safe space for everyone to feel at home and welcome at this Festival.

Our theme, Are You Living or Just Existing?, was one of those random statements that I have carried through my life for the past 20 years. It challenges me to step outside my comfort zone and become someone I have always wanted to be; to not only think outside the box but think as if the box never existed-- without limitations. I ask and challenge you to do the same as you embark on this Festival journey with me.

So…here we go! Take a chance---go to a workshop that is different for you; meet folks from other schools; make connections and build your theatre family into an even stronger group. Share your experiences when you go back to your schools so others after you will join us and continue their own journey at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival.


Ryan Lambert
2023 IHSTF Executive Director

We Have Our Own App!

In an effort to be as green as possible, the IHSTF has an app for all Apple and Android devices! Descriptions of all workshops and productions can be found on the app (or in the program PDF). Additionally, the app has a schedule creator, instant updates as the Festival progresses, easy ways to connect with other attendees at the Festival, and much more!

Go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and search for “Illinois High School Theatre Festival” to download the app today.

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