High School actors prepare for International Drama Festival, but need help with funds to attend

Tony Cabrera Image
Friday, April 21, 2023
Young actors prepare for performance of a lifetime
Students from Los Alamitos High School find purpose, passion through drama program. Now they are asking for help to send them to an International Drama Festival for competition.

LOS ALAMITOS (KABC) -- A group of young actors from Los Alamitos High School is getting ready for the performance of a lifetime: at an acting festival for teenagers. But they are going to need a little help getting there.

The drama students have found a lot of happiness, confidence and passion through being on stage.

"Performing has given me one of the best joys that I've never experienced before," said Ali Valenzuela.

Now, that joy has earned the group a chance to compete on the national stage. One of the pieces centers on a bullying incident that goes viral, and how it in turn affects students.

"Thirteen of our students are in this anti-bullying show and this is kind of like the CIF of theater. One school per state gets to go and perform," said Stacy Castiglione, theater director.

It's for the International Thespian Festival in Bloomington, Indiana. Problem is, it's in Indiana and they don't have the money to cover all the expenses for the trip. The school sent a small group of students last year, but now, a lot more have qualified.

"This year, the group is much bigger and add on top of that, the cast of #Viral, and all of a sudden I went from having 6 students go to having 25 students go," said Castiglione.

"It's very expensive but it'd be amazing for us to go because it would be an amazing opportunity and I think the money will be well spent," said Evan Ashwynpagan.

That's why one of the parents started a GoFundMe page, to help them go. While theater in itself helps these kids, they say this competition and workshop takes it to another level.

"The amount of heart and soul that these kids put into their work and what they deserve, is huge and this opportunity is going to be life changing for all of them," said Castiglione.

"Being in drama has given me goals and given me something to be passionate about because before I was in theater, I didn't have that many goals and didn't know what I wanted to do," said Valenzuela.

They need to raise about $50,000. If you'd like to help, find their GoFundMe. It's called "Road to Nationals."