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Art council students attend theater festival
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Theater students from the Dawson County Arts Council were selected to attend the 2013 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta over the weekend.

The council's youth theater program, launched in 2009, aims to promote and cultivate an appreciation for the arts in Dawson County.

The council was recognized in previous festivals, taking home several awards in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as well as being hand-picked to perform selections from a Disney musical in front of 2,200 attendees.

According to a release from the Dawson County Arts Council Theatre group, this year's students took home an award for Excellence in Dance for the overall group, as well as individual awards for Pete Farley and Nicole Hedgecoth, who were chosen as team All-Star Performers, and Annie Kreitz, who was named as a Technical Theatre All-Star.

Broadway JR Slam participants chosen from the theatre troupe were: Sarah Rogers, Parker Davenport, Jace Haney, Benny Higgins and Nathan Gerrells.

Anslie Hogan, Lily Davenport and Grace Dorminy were chosen to audition for Musical Theatre International's Choreography instructional DVDs.

The festival, touted as the world's largest musical theater festival, featured 82 groups representing 23 states - about 4,000 students, teachers and business representatives in all.

The first Junior Theater Festival was held in January of 2003. Starting in 2010, the festival became an annual event.

Each group attending the festival performed a 15 minute selection of a musical to a panel of judges of theater professionals. The Dawson County team chose a selection from "School House Rock Live! JR," a musical based on the television show of the same name aimed at teaching audiences of all ages that learning can be fun.

The Dawson students practiced in the Bowen Center for the Arts on Saturdays in order to prepare for their performance at the festival.

In addition to presenting a 15 minute selection from their musical, both students and teachers participated in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, gained from professional development, enjoyed theatrical fellowship and attended a world-class professional production at the Fox Theatre.

Students interested in the technical side of theater had a chance to work side-by-side with festival staff in running all aspects of the festival experience.

Also at the festival were appearances from theater celebrities and award recognition for the attendees.