Tara Whitman, West Orange High School’s Director of Theatre, has been an active member in the performing arts community for over twenty years. She is an alumni of West Orange High School and Thespian of Troupe 1983. Mrs. Whitman studied Theatre at Savannah College of Art & Design and earned her B.A. in Theatre Studies with a minor in Education from the University of Central Florida. Upon graduation, she was hired as the Theatre Director/Communications & Arts in Performance Academy (Performance Art Academy) Director at Atlantic High School, Volusia County.
In addition to working the past thirteen years as the Resident Choreographer of West Orange High School’s Theatre Department, she has worked professionally with many of Central Florida’s theatre companies including Orlando Repertory Theatre (Steve Mackinnon), Garden Theatre, Bay Street Players (David Clevinger), IceHouse Theatre (Darlin Barry), Rollins College, and Osceola Center for the Arts (Donald Rupe).
Her West Orange directing credits include "Into The Woods", "Shrek The Musical", "Curtains", and the high school premiere of "Bright Star". She has been awarded many “Best in Show” and “Critics' Choice” honors in the Florida State Thespian system and, multiple “Outstanding Choreography” awards from the Dr. Phillips Center. Mrs. Whitman is a member of FATE (Florida Association of Theatre Educators) and EdTA (Educational Theatre Association).
Mrs. Whitman most recently worked on mounting her production of "Pippin", which was chosen to perform as a mainstage at the 2022 Florida State Thespian Festival. Mainstage is a prestigious invitation offered to only a select few schools out of the entire state to present their show in its entirety at the State festival. The previous year, the department's show “Curtains” was also invited to perform at the State Thespian Festival, as was Mrs. Whitman’s premiere of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s “Bright Star” in 2018, which had the distinction of being invited to mainstage at the State level as well as the International level. The department presented “42nd Street” as a mainstage the year prior, making “Pippin” Tara’s sixth Mainstage in six years.
THESPIAN TROUPE 1983
The International Thespian Society (ITS) is the Educational Theatre Association’s student honorary organization. ITS recognizes the achievements of high school and middle school theatre students and has inducted more than 2 million Thespians since 1929. ITS celebrates the work of both actors and technicians, provides student leadership opportunities, hosts conferences and festivals, and much more.
West Orange High School is home to Thespian Troupe 1983, which is part of Florida District V. New members who meet the qualifications are inducted into Troupe 1983 each spring. The troupe has over 40 members.
West Orange Theatre Department is based in Winter Garden, Florida. Students design or assist with all aspects of the production: sets, paint, lighting, hair & makeup, etc. The West Orange Theatre Department strives to create professional quality theatre. Over the past decade, hundreds of talented high school students (and some even younger! )
have contributed their efforts and talents to this program day after day, and created a legacy for themselves and others.
TROUPE 1983 OFFICERS, 2021-2022
PRESIDENT - Ryan Chillinsky
VICE PRESIDENT - Gretchen Olah
VICE PRESIDENT - Kadance Jablon
SECRETARY - Lucy DeFelice
MARKETING - Alex Battenfield
MARKETING - Kevin Mercier
TREASURER - Megan Stringer
FACILITIES COORDINATOR - Sami Posso
DEPARTMENT LIASION - Gina DiGiovanni
Tel: 407.905.2400 ext. 6162282
West Orange High School Theatre
1625 Beulah Road
Winter Garden, FL 34787