The Maryland High School Theatre Critics Program was established in August, 1999, for the express purpose
of having student reviews of Montgomery High School Drama Program productions published in the Washington Post Newspaper.
MHST participants and the Post devised a program whereby the art and academics of reviewing a production took precedence
through our own establishment of critical standards, training, and a policy of non-competitive recognition of student performance
in the reviews and not by any sort of special awards for the shows and performers.
The Program consists of a Steering Committee of five teachers/artists who organize the program, the training sessions,
the schedule of covering shows for reviews, providing materials for student critics, proofing the reviews, making review selections,
and seeing that the reviews are sent to the Post in time for publication.
This year, the Committee intends to send reviewers
an evaluation of their reviews in order to improve student performance.
Student participation was enthusiastic at the start of the program with 6 - 12 or more reviewers seeing some shows in
the Fall of 1999. However, some shows were only seen by one or two student reviewers, and as many of the participating
schools performed on similar weekends in the Spring, the program found it difficult to cover all shows with an appropriate
number of reviewers.
Our end-of-year evaluation produced the following benefits:
1) Reviews of all participating schools, and in some cases schools were reviewed for more than one show
2) A high
quality of writing in the majority of our reviews. Comparatively, our students appeared to have written superior reviews
to others in comparable situations
3) Establishment of a strong relationship with the Editor of the Maryland Weekly Section
Inquiries by more schools seeking to participate
5) Identification of problems within the program and a plan to solve those
The evaluation also pinpoints intended improvements:
1) New and exciting ideas for training this year's participants including work with professionals
2) At the Post's
request --- a more critical look at productions
3) More student participation and from more schools
4) More involvement
by students participating in this program responsibilities
5) Recognition for outstanding participants
for every review that is written whether published or not
7) Establishment of expectations for student participation in
8) Expanded Mentor Program
9) Establishment of a Critics' Network via e-mail
10) Training of literary
techniques particular to Critical Writing
We feel the program has started well. Please join us in this fine endeavor. Fees payable to MHST are $100 per school.
To receive paticipation forms or to pay program fee, please contact Mike D'Anna at 301-509-8383 or CLICKHERE