Twenty- three years ago, under the leadership of Principal Bud Sanders and Music/Drama instructor Dr. Norma Wetzell, Joseph High School chartered Thespian Troupe 4809 under the auspices of the International Thespian Society. In January 1991, members Leigh Latta IV, Jenni Blanchet, Tonya Carper, Rebecca Miller, Joe Nelson, and Leah Salmon signed the Charter.
The International Thespian Society has been honoring the excellence of theater students since 1929. Thespian Troupes serve students in grades 9-12. More than two million students have been inducted into over 4,000 Troupes worldwide since the beginning of the International Thespian Society.
Dr. Wetzell initiated both curricular and co-curricular Theater Arts programs. She served the students at Joseph High School until June of 1994, when she left Wallowa County for retirement in Portland.
Music instructor Tom Isaacson took the reigns of the Music and Band programs the next fall, with Pam Latta assuming the duties of Thespian and Co-curricular Theater Advisor. Mrs. Latta served the Joseph School District, maintaining the Troupe and directing plays, for the next 20 years.
Since 1991, 152 students have been honored with induction into the Troupe. Students have participate in more that 60 musicals and plays. Members have attended the Oregon State Thespian Festival every year since inception, winning the coveted Troupe of the Year Award five times!
This yea, the Troupe's members presented the 18th and final Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at Wallowa Lake Lodge, "The Murder Mystery Murders." Students are also planning a Comedy and Tragedy night of one-act plays and scenes in March.
With the transformation of Joseph High School into a Charter School, the Theater Arts program is also being transformed. Mrs. Latta, who obtained her teaching degree in Speech and Theater from Westminster College, has been working with the Administration to fulfill their Charter goal of integrating arts into the classroom. This work resulted in the 2012-2013 theatrical productions of:
- "American Voices of Change"- American History
- "Back on Broadway"- Music and Band
- "On the Radio"- Grades 4-5
Productions planned this year include:
- "World Voices of Change"- World History
- "The Oregon Trail"- Grades 3-4
- American Revolution play- 5th Grade
The JHS theater program has been served by long term volunteer Richelle Chitwood, who assisted with the production of "The Madwoman of Challiot," and stayed on to assist with every production since. If you would like to volunteer your time, or donate items to the program, please call the school and we will put you in touch with Pam Latta.
Members of the 2013-2014 Troupe are:
- President- Felicity Gross
- Vice-President- Max Greenway
- Secretary- Holly Taylor
- Treasurer- Noel Taylor
- Senior Members-
- Destiny Remuth
- Michael Thomas
- Mia Whittle
- Junior Member-
- Mireia Victori
- Sophomore Member-
- Jesse Woodhead
- Freshman Members-
- Haven Johnsom
- Addie Kilgore
- Taylor Grote
- Johnelle' Suto
- Middle School Members-
- Tucker Van Winkle
- Bailee Wilcox
- Renee Seal
- Gunner Romanishan
- Jesse Troutman