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William S. Hart Union High School District celebrates theater students with festival 

Canyon High School performs "American Idiot/ Holiday" during the Hart District Theater Festival held at Saugus High School on Friday, 022324. Dan Watson/The Signal
Canyon High School performs "American Idiot/ Holiday" during the Hart District Theater Festival held at Saugus High School on Friday, 022324. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The annual Hart District Theatre Festival had 200 students competing in theatrical performances in seven categories at the Saugus Performing Arts Center.  

Seven William S. Hart Union High School District theater programs gathered at the performing arts center for a communal event recently at Saugus High School aimed to appreciate theater arts. 

The respective categories all students competed in were: audition monologues, contemporary ensemble, Shakespeare ensemble, musical ensemble, small group contemporary, small group Shakespeare, small group musical, judges’ awards, and best supporting and lead actor.  

Saugus High School performs "Mean Girls" during the Hart District Theater Festival held at Saugus High School on Friday, 022324.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Saugus High School performs “Mean Girls” during the Hart District Theater Festival held at Saugus High School on Friday, 022324. Dan Watson/The Signal

Although it was a competition, Gina Painter, emcee for the festival and theater teacher for Saugus High School, described it as a celebration. 

The highlight for her about the theater festival was witnessing all the students across the valley come together under one roof and supporting each other for the common appreciating of theater performances, she said.  

“They cheer for each other, they exchange phone numbers and social media, they make plans to go see other shows, so instead of it being highly competitive, it turns into a celebration,” said Painter.  

Approximately 300 people were in attendance, said Painter. Families came to support their children competing, and all seven theater teachers from the Hart district witnessed their students perform as well as other local students.   

Every year the high schools rotate to host the event on their campus, said Painter. Last year the Hart District Film Festival was held at Canyon High School.  

The Hart District Theatre Festival 2024 award recipients were:  

Audition Monologues 

1. Kate Eng – Saugus. 

2. Charlie Molerio – Hart. 

3. Bailey Bond – Canyon. 

Contemporary Ensemble  

1. Saugus. 

2. West Ranch. 

3. Valencia. 

Best Supporting Actor: Hailey Frame – West Ranch. 

Best Lead Actor: Levi Green – Canyon. 

Shakespeare Ensemble 

1. Valencia. 

2. Saugus. 

3. Canyon. 

Best Supporting Actor: Casey Smith – Hart. 

Best Lead Actor: Holly Van Puyvelde – Saugus.  

Musical Ensemble 

1. Saugus. 

2. Hart. 

3. Canyon. 

Best Supporting Actor:  Nina Nathan – Saugus. 

Best Lead Actor: Joshua Navalta – Golden Valley. 

Small Group Contemporary  

1. Valencia. 

2. Saugus. 

3. Canyon. 

Small Group Shakespeare 

1. Valencia. 

2. Saugus. 

3. West Ranch. 

Small Group Musical 

1. Saugus. 

2. Golden Valley. 

3. Valencia. 

Judges’ awards 

Charlie Molerio. 

Samuel Kort. 

Cora Howard. 

Kate Eng. 

Landon Blankenship. 

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