Nine Maine high schools brought their regionals-honed one-act plays to the Maine Drama Festival Class A State Finals Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23 at Camden Hills Regional High School. After three sessions of plays and a lot of youthful energy exchange, Bangor High School was declared the state champion late Saturday evening.

Oceanside High School came in second. However, because Bangor did not register to go to the non-competitive New England Drama Festival next month in Rhode Island, the Oceanside troupe will be going instead. Fundraisers will be held in coming weeks to finance the trip.

Midcoast schools in the mix this year were Oceanside of Rockland, competing in the finals for the second year since its new RSU identity was created from the former SADs 5 and 40; and Belfast Area High School, at the finals for the first time in a dozen years. Both schools received judges’ commendations, as well as standing ovations from the festival audience.

While Camden Hills did not compete in the finals, its students played the vital role of host, no small feat when dealing with nine communities’ worth of students, family and friends. The Class A State Finals were hosted by Jane Self with technical director Tom Heath, leading a crew of Camden Hills techies. Violet Bemis and Meg Dowd ran the box office, and the Wave Café staff kept everyone fed under the direction of Susan Boivin. MPA Drama Committee Rep was Robin Lisherness and Maine Drama Council Rep was Ryan Nored of Erskine Academy.

Judges for the Class A State Finals were Jayne Decker, Wil Kilroy and Janet Ross. In addition to ranking the schools, they awarded special commendations and nominated students to the All Festival Cast. Their Class A finals ranking, first to ninth place, was Bangor, Oceanside, Falmouth, Westbrook, Belfast, Morse, Thornton Academy, Skowhegan and Fryeburg.

Oceanside’s “Twelfth Night” received Judges’ Commendations for Set Design and Construction; and for Stage Management (Laura Swanson and Kelsey Lawry). Named to the All Festival Cast were Payton Billingsley and Emma King.

Belfast’s “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza” received Judges’ Commendations for Comic Ensemble. Named to the All Festival Cast were Autumn Stupca, Stephen Colby, Dakota Wing and Cameron Pillitteri.

Class B (schools with 550 or fewer students) held its state final at Freeport High School; no local schools competed. The Class B State Champion is Yarmouth High School. All the results from both state finals of the 82nd annual Maine Drama Festival are posted at mainedramacouncil.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.