Cappies at UHS


Nicole Chen, Staff Writer

Among the array of visual and performing arts activities at UHS, a little-known group of students are part of a cross-section of journalism and theater known as the Cappies. Also called the Critics and Awards Program, Cappies is a nationwide writing program that allows students to watch and critique high school theater productions.

Due to Cappie’s regional nature, Orange County’s branch is the only one throughout California. While Cappies is usually reserved for students part of theater and tech theater, it is interesting to look at the differences between writing for other mediums and writing short form critique. 

Nina Chen, a freshman in tech theater, said she initially joined Cappies after hearing about it from Ms. Renee Bettger, UHS’s theater program director

“I thought Cappies was a great opportunity for me to be involved with theater,” Chen said. “I also get to write about them too, and that worked out really well because writing is another thing I’m passionate about.”

Similarly, sophomore Varin Gupta initially believed that Cappies was just an opportunity to see free theater.

“Being in the program has taught me so much more,” Gupta said. “In my opinion, Cappies is one of the few activities that can teach students to create articles that strike a chord with their readers while also being very attentive to detail, a skill that every student and professional can use.”

On the critiques, Chen expanded on the nature of comments and what it meant to her.

“Writing for Cappies means that I’m critiquing shows created by other people who are around my age,” Chen said. “Every time I attend and write for other schools, it amazes me how what I’m critiquing is completely student-driven, and it gives me the chance to appreciate and celebrate high school theater.”

Sophomore Zoe Huxman described the requirements for entries as “a roughly 390-word review of a theatrical production, covering elements from acting to lighting design. Each mini paragraph in the review covers a different aspect of theater and judges how successful a choice was, and how it supported the show [as a] whole.”

This school year, the Cappies program requires its members to see three to five shows each semester. The entire school team attends a show together, while the rest is up to the member’s preferences and schedules. At the end of their year-long endeavors, awards are given out at the Cappies Gala in May. Student critics determine all Cappies nominations and awards, and the winners of events get their work published on the website.