& Steve Landes
2013 – 2017
Leslie Anne Coats
Gerald E. Snider
History of the Kansas Thespian Festival
If you have stories or know history of our festival, please share it with us.
This will be the 46th annual Kansas Thespian Festival.
Educational Theatre Association was founded in 1929.
Max Brown has been teaching HS theatre for 42 years as of 2015. His previous schools were: Prairie View HS, Bonner Springs HS, Shawnee Mission East High School, Blue Valley High School and Blue Valley North HS, his present position as Theatre Director, Director of Forensics and Chairman of the Performing Arts Department. He is the recipient of the 2006 Kansas Thespian Hall of Fame, The 2010 Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame Award, a Five Diamond Coach of the National Speech and Debate Association, Dr. Brown was also Kansas Chapter Director from 2010-2013 and continues to serve of the Kansas Thespian Regional Board to the present day. He feels blessed to have a job that gives him such joy on a daily basis and one that lets him see many of his students attain successful professional careers in the performing arts both on Broadway, Regional Theatre and TV and Film.
Terry McGonigle, known by my students and friends as “McGoo”, is a 40 year veteran of the educational theatre classroom on both the high school and college level. In 1973, he received a B.A. in speech communication arts with an emphasis in acting and directing from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. One year and three days later he received my M.A. in technical theatre and design from Emporia State University, also in Kansas. A native of Maize, Kansas, he has worked in professional theatre in New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas. Although he has worked in professional theatre as an actor, technician, director and designer, his first love is teaching. In 1999 he was named as the Georgia Youth Arts Educator of the Year and in 2004, he was inducted into the Kansas Thespian Hall of Fame, and in 2006, he was inducted into the Georgia Theatre Hall of Fame. In the fall of 2008, he was honored with induction into the Educational Theatre Association’s National Teacher Hall of Fame. In the spring of 2015, Southwestern College will honor him by inducting him into their Fine Arts Hall of Fame. Obviously theatre is his occupation, hobby and passion. In addition to teaching, he served as the Kansas Thespians State Director for five years and has presented workshops in puppetry, costuming and makeup in 19 different states at various Thespian events. He was the adult liaison for the International Thespian Student Officers for nearly a decade and served as the costumer for the national Thespian cast productions of Ragtime and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He believes that we have a responsibility to give back to the community in which we live and has become an avid supporter of Habitat for Humanity and Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS.
Dr. Gerald E. Snider
Dr. Snider was chosen Best Thespian at Riverton High School in Riverton, Kansas. After college he began his high school educational theatre teaching and directing career in Iola, Kansas. He later moved to Overland Park, Kansas where he developed the Shawnee Mission South High School Thespian Society; later becoming Kansas State Thespian Society Director. He was active in local community theatres and eventually taught and directed theatre at Johnson County Community College. Retired now, Dr. Snider works with a senior citizen group called Actor’s Choice who present four to five theatre presentations each year.