Georgia Thespian Convention Takes Over Downtown Columbus

CSU students step into leadership positions to give back to an organization that enriched their lives


Sarah Slappey (left) and Seth Wicker (right) coordinated the Georgia Thespian Convention events. Photos provided.

In early February, downtown Columbus was flooded with approximately 7,000 high schoolers from across Georgia and parts of Alabama for the Georgia Thespian Convention, commonly known as Thescon.
Thescon provides opportunities for high school students to audition for scholarships, participate in workshops, attend shows put on by their peers, talk to college representatives, compete in Individual Events, and bond with their classmates. By including CSU facilities, Thescon provides a way for prospective students to tour the theatre department while engaging their creative spirits.

CSU theatre students in orange volunteer shirts made themselves easy to spot, filling every role from time keeper to vender assistant, and juniors, Seth Wicker and Sarah Slappey, coordinated all of them. Although this event happens every February, plans begin as early as the preceding August.
Wicker and Slappey attended the three-day State Thespian Board Retreat in which members discussed the workshops offered, which guest artists were hired, how the budget was utilized among other details. From this, Wicker and Slappey learned where volunteers are needed, what their jobs would be, and how many are being requested.

Each Thescon has an accompanying program with information on that year’s events.

Wicker and Slappey compared the requested number of volunteers to the number of theatre majors available to work this year. Each CSU theatre major was required to work a minimum of seven hours during the conference, and Alpha Phi Omega members were required to work at least ten hours. About a week before Thescon, Wicker sent out an email with sign ups for shifts. Wicker and Slappey also had to keep track of who fulfilled these volunteer hours and worked with people who needed more. They agreed that despite all the other demands of their job, the hardest part was getting people to answer their emails.

Whenever they were unable to fill shifts, Wicker and Slappey utilized their “runners.” Saleem Floy, Britt Woods, Sage Law, Bethany Barnes, Sierra Farmer, and Zoe Potter remained at the volunteer booth throughout the conference. These “runners” went wherever extra help was needed. Wicker and Slappey attained their roles through years of contributing as runners and assistant runners. They also helped with the Junior Thespian Convention which is a one-day event at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center for middle school students.

Wicker commented that he was excited about “giving back to an organization that gave so much to me. Throughout high school, I attended Thescon three times, and then I went to the International Thespian Conference in Lincoln, NE, my senior year. I was able to perform at Thescon three years in a row. I auditioned. I got callbacks; I got a callback from CSU which is obviously where I ended up.”

Slappey agreed that giving back was very rewarding. She attended and performed at Thescon all four years of her high school career. She most enjoyed “seeing the joy on [the high schoolers’] faces and how excited they are to be there with their friends and new friends. It’s really inspiring to see new theatre people that could be something amazing one day.”

Wicker and Slappey will continue to serve the Georgia State Thespians at Junior Thescon on Feb. 29.