URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois High School Theatre Festival is returning to Krannert this weekend with performances of “Shrek! the Musical” along with other plays, workshops and more.

The festival started in 1976, bringing together student actors, technicians, and musicians from around Illinois. This year, the festival will be the first in-person festival since 2020, and the first back at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts since 2019.

An opening ceremony kicked off the events at Krannert on Thursday at 5 p.m., with the first all-star performance of “Shrek! the Musical” at 7 p.m. Over 3,000 students and teachers from around the state will participate in workshops, shows, showcases, and seminars on Friday and Saturday.

“These shows bring in the best of the best from across the state,” said Sue Aldridge, a retired drama teacher at Centennial High School who helps organize the event. “It’s the largest non-competitive high school theatre festival in the country.”

Since its inception, the festival has continued to celebrate and highlight Illinois performing arts students and teachers.

More information can be found in the festival’s program here.

Courtesy: Jennifer Heim Photography