AUDREY BURGOON’S theatre journey began in a theatre arts class her first day at Kansas’ Salina Central High School. Although she had performed in community productions as a child, it wasn’t until she became a member of Thespian Troupe 639 that she blossomed into a student leader. From her initial job working on show props, she became the troupe’s public relations manager and president before turning her attention to a larger stage as a 2018 State Thespian Officer and current International Thespian Officer.

In 2018, Burgoon added advocacy to her list of achievements, securing a proclamation from Mayor Karl F. Ryan to name March Theatre in Our Schools month in Salina. She also led U.S. Senator Jerry Moran on a tour of her school to highlight the importance of theatre education, a passion she hopes to make into a career.

Audrey Burgoon

Photo of Audrey Burgoon by Susan Doremus.

Burgoon has performed at Salina Central as Annelle in Steel Magnolias, Ms. Darbus in High School Musical, and Miss Scarlet in Clue. She’s also racked up numerous honors from her troupe, including its Best Thespian and Outstanding Technical Performance awards, in addition to earning the Future Theatre Educator Scholarship from Kansas Thespians.

Also a leader offstage, Burgoon has served as student council class president for all four years of high school and recently was named the Representative Woman of her senior class. In her free time, she enjoys supporting her brothers at their sporting events.

What was your introduction to theatre?
My first exposure to theatre was when I moved to a new town in sixth grade. I auditioned for a show at our local community theatre … and I wasn’t cast. I swore to my parents that I would never go back, but we can all see how well that turned out. A few months later, I auditioned for a show at a high school in my town. They were presenting Annie and needed kids to play orphans. I instantly fell in love with the process and especially the camaraderie between the cast and crew.

What has been your favorite high school theatre experience?
Some of my favorite memories come from my home state festival. I remember coming home from the event my freshman year on cloud nine. It’s hard to compare festivals, since they are all so different, but there is something special about your home conference and the people there. My sophomore year, one of my good friends handed down her STO sash to me, and I will never forget that experience.

What prompted you to become an International Thespian Officer?
Ryan Pangracs [of Leavenworth High School’s Troupe 287] was an STO and ITO from my state. I got to watch him and the impact he was making, and I wanted to be a part of that. I especially enjoy seeing how various events work together. I ended up going to six festivals as an ITO, and I absolutely loved all of them. Because of those experiences, when it came time to participate in the National Arts Action Summit in Washington, D.C., the advocacy meant more and there were faces attached. I was able to use what I learned from others to help them and make an impact on a larger scale in front of government officials.

What are your plans after high school?
I will be majoring in theatre education at Kansas State University.

What advice would you share with other Thespians?
I would advise others not to put themselves in a box. Try everything. Don’t limit yourself to being an actor or a technician. Run for a leadership position, try a different theatre discipline, and audition for that show. It might not end up being your favorite role (or it might) but I assure you that you will learn something new along the way.

Follow the International Thespian Officers on Instagram @thespiansociety.

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