Theatre Arts

Salem-Keizer Public Schools

District Drama Program



Lancaster Professional Center

2450 Lancaster Dr. NE
Salem, Oregon 97305

Marylou Boderman portrait

Mary Lou Boderman,

Coordinator of Music & Drama

Sheila Gebhardt,

Senior Secretary for Music & Drama

Contact Theater Department
  • scene from the Newsie drama production
  • McNary Drama students
  • scene from high school theater play
  • South high school theater students group picture on stage
for more pictures, visit the Theatre Gallery!

Upcoming Shows

Scroll down to view full month calendars for district and school feeder areas


Coming soon

The 2019 State Festival will be held April 4-6 at the Salem Conference Center and Historic Elsinore Theatre in Salem. REGISTRATION WILL BE OPEN IN FEBRUARY.

Our Junior Thespian Day at State is Friday, April 5.

We are ALWAYS accepting proposals from Teaching Artists for Workshops (CLICK HERE) and Vendors/Colleges/Universities (CLICK HERE) wishing to participate in our State Thespian Educational Vendor Expo.

The State Festival is the signature event for Oregon Thespians. It is attended by over 1000 theatre students and teachers from around the state and features several main stage productions, dozens of one act plays, workshops and presentations.

Schools may apply to have one of their Main Stage Productions featured at the conference as one of the top high school shows of the year.  All troupes attending are expected to participate in some significant way. Participating troupes may bring one-act plays or scenes to showcase in the One Act Marathon, or present a troupe-sponsored Workshop. Workshops are also offered by local and national theatre professionals and college students and professors.

The qualifying top 10% in each category from the Regional Acting Competitions audition for the State Showcase at the State Conference. Judges select a minimum of two scenes or as many as 20% per category to perform at the State Showcase. Entries deemed superior at their Regional Competitions, by virtue of their advancement to the final round of auditions at State, are also eligible to enter the Individual Events competition at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska in June.

Technical Theatre events are also conducted, including a range of events in which students can advance for adjudication and recognition at both the State and National levels.

At the end of the conference, awards for Honor Troupe, technical achievement, and Scholarships are presented and a new State Board is elected. See SCHOLARSHIPS/HONORS for more information on teacher, troupe, and student opportunities.

High school students in grades 9-12, their theatre teachers, and chaperones are welcome at the conference. The registered Troupe Director MUST attend with the delegation, or designate an adult Troupe leader (with approval from their school). All students must be chaperoned by an adult (21 years or older) for the entire weekend of the conference.

Registration is done online. To register for the State Festival, first review this entire section of information carefully, and be prepared to provide your student group members’ names and t-shirt sizes. You’ll also need to indicate how your troupe will participate, with details about workshops or one-acts you will be presenting. Note that registration payment must be sent in advance of the Festival (with the confirmation sent to you from your online registration). Registration fees are non-refundable. Registration does not include lodging and transportation.

National Unified Auditions

  • The National Unified Auditions is a loose coalition of college theatre programs that hold auditions at the same locations each year: New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.
  • There are 25-30 “official” members of Unifieds: U Arts, Ball State, Boston Conservatory, Cincinnati, Cornish, Emerson, U Evansville, Hartt (U Hartford), Ithaca, Miami (Fla), Michigan, Montclair St., Northern Illinois, Oklahoma, Otterbein, Penn State, Point Park, Roosevelt, Santa Fe, SCAD, SMU, TCU, Utah, Viterbo, Webster.
  • Many more schools conduct auditions in the same locations (25-50 more), but not all schools. To confirm that a school will be holding auditions at Unifieds, you have to go to the theatre department website for each school and check the dates and locations for their auditions.

Location and Dates

  • The Chicago Unifieds location is the Hilton Palmer House Hotel, but auditions are also held at other locations in the surrounding area (usually other hotels). Auditions for schools in Chicago are usually held at the school. The Hilton Palmer House is in the heart of the Chicago Theatre District.
  • The Chicago Unifieds dates are usually Monday through Wednesday during or close to the first week in February. Note that some programs begin audition and dance calls on Saturday and some schools may hold auditions on Thursday.

Audition Process

  • These are not group auditions like the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska or the Greater Houston Area Auditions. There is no central sign-up system or process. Unified Auditions are individual, “small-room” auditions. You have to audition separately for each school.
  • Students have to sign up for an audition with each school individually. Carefully check all application and audition registration procedures, they will vary from school to school. Some schools require you to apply in order to register for an audition slot, others do not. Some schools require video prescreens to be submitted prior to granting an audition slot.
  • The audition list for some schools fill up fast. Some schools run out of slots by November.
  • All auditions are individual, each student auditions in a small conference room in front of a panel of faculty members.
  • Some Musical Theatre programs hold group dance calls for Musical Theatre auditions in addition to individual auditions, sometimes on a different day from individual monologue+songs auditions.
  • Some schools do have walk-in slots available, although this is not guaranteed and walk-ins are highly unlikely to be available for the top programs.
  • Some schools hold information sessions for students and parents.
  • For Musical Theatre, an accompanist is provided by some schools, while other schools require the student to bring their accompaniment and a device to play the accompaniment (an iPod and a battery-powered speaker dock, for example).


2018-19 Theatre Productions (table format)


High SchoolMcKayMcNaryNorthSouthSpragueWest
ProductionOur Lady of the TortolaPeter and the Star CatcherA Christmas CarolThe Adams FamilyBring It On
Run DatesNov. 9-10, 16-17 7:00 p.m.Nov. 8-10, 16-17 7:00 p.m.December 7, 14, 15 7:00 p.m.Nov. 1-3, 8-10 7:00 p.m.Nov. 8- 10, 15-17 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 17 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.Nov. 17 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.December 8 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.Nov. 17 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.
Location</sMcKay Royal Scots TheatreNorth Salem High SchoolSouth Salem High SchoolSprague High SchoolWest Salem High School


High SchoolMcKayMcNaryNorthSouthSpragueWest
ProductionThe WizGreaseNewsiesRecklessLend Me A TenorThe Miracle Worker
Run DatesJan. 18- 19, 25-26 7:00 p.m.Jan. 10-12, 17 -19 7:00 p.m. March 14 - 16, 22-23 7:00 p.m.March 7 – 8, 7:00 p.m.February 21-23, 28March 20 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 26 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.Jan. 12, 19 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.March 23 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.March 15, 16 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.March 1-2 7:00 p.m.March 21 - 23 7:00 p.m.
Location</sMcKay Royal Scots TheatreKen Collins TheaterNorth Salem High SchoolSouth Salem High SchoolSprague High SchoolWest Salem High School


High SchoolMcKayMcNaryNorthSouthSpragueWest
ProductionClueTreasure IslandAnatomy of GrayThe Pink Panther Strikes AgainSteel MagnoliasThe Seussification of Romeo & Juliet
Run DatesMay 17-18, 24-25 7:00 p.m.May 16- 18, 23-25 7:00 p.m.May 23-24, 25 7:00 p.m.May 10-11, 17-18 7:00 p.m.May 16-18, 7:00 p.m.April 19 7:00 p.m.
April 20 2:00 p.m
May 25 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.May 18, 25 2:00 & 7:00May 25 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.May 18 2:00 & 7:00 p.m.May 23-25 7:00 pmAs You Like It
May 15 5:00
May 16-18 7:00 p.m.
Location</sMcKay Royal Scots TheatreKen Collins TheaterNorth Salem High SchoolSouth Salem High SchoolSprague High SchoolWest Salem High School

Theatre Event Calendars by High School Feeder Area

Quick Facts

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Theatre makes an impact – not just on the artist or the audience, although that is the idea and why the Theatre Directors in Salem-Keizer have such high standard for their productions. Theatre has an impact on the future. It creates ready to work and learn young adults who are, statistically, more likely to become contributing members of society.

Here’s how:

Theatre make Students College and Career Ready. Cast and crew members work collaboratively under high stress situations, think critically and creatively, and require high work ethic skills that colleges and employers value. In two of Google’s recent studies assessing the skills in their top employees and teams, communicating, empathy, critical thinking, valuing others, and connecting complex ideas were at the top of both lists.

Theatre increases brain development. In a time in teens’ lives where their emotional center of the brain (limbic system) is well (or over) developed and the Frontal Cortex controlling logic and decision-making is vastly underdeveloped, participating in theatre gives students a safe place for risk taking and explore emotions.

Investing in Theatre gains a huge return on investment. Turning out students with high work ethic means more high quality workers, means higher pay, means more spending back into our economy. Additionally, artists have an 86% voting record compared to the rest of the country at 60 percent. Theatre students believe in caring for others and our world; they have a global view and volunteer more than their peers.

Theatre kids do better in school. Statistically, students of theatre are three times as likely to earn an award for attendance and academic achievement than their non-arts students, score an average of 91 points higher on the SAT, and are TWICE and likely to graduate from college. High poverty students involved in theatre have a 4% drop out rate.

ODE Standards for Theatre

Salem-Keizer Scope & Sequences

Under Revision