Best in show

Cullman Theatre top in state, headed to regional competition

Cullman High School’s Jameson Inscho and Ava Fales perform in “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” at the 82nd Walter Trumbauer High School Theatre Festival. (Wayne Cook/Cullman High School)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman High School Theatre picked up a Best in Show award at the 82nd Walter Trumbauer High School Theatre Festival at Troy University in early December. The group, directed by Wayne Cook, will now head to Lexington, Kentucky, March 1-5 to compete in the Southeast Theatre Conference, a first for the school.

Cook said his group took its one-act performance of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” to Trumbauer and competed with 13 of the best high school theater departments from across Alabama.

“This is the best it gets in high school theater,” he said. “For two days, schools having been advanced from their districts present ‘one acts’ at Troy University to a distinguished panel of judges. Students from all over the state also compete in individual events after ranking superior at the district level. When it is over, the state theater festival – named Trumbauer after a well-known theater professor from the University of Montevallo – crowns the champions.”

Cullman Theatre has racked up quite the impressive resume under Cook’s direction.

“This is the highest award any school can receive in Alabama in the area of theater,” Cook said. “Cullman, in the past, has moved on from the district festival to compete among the top schools five times in the past seven years.”

The group has one other Best in Show; in 2017 it won for the musical “Scrooge,” but this is the first time it has been invited to the Southeast Theatre Conference (SETC).

“This is the first time CHS has been chosen to represent Alabama at SETC. It is a huge honor to represent Alabama at SETC. This regional festival features people from all over the country at different levels of theater experience. We will be performing alongside schools from every state in the Southeast. You have to win at Trumbauer to be invited,” Cook said. “We are always proud of the work we do, but it means so much when your fellow theater professionals recognize your work. These students have worked very hard and deserve the recognition, but also we cannot forget to recognize all those who have worked hard for years to make Cullman Theatre a special program in our community. This award of Best In Show 2022 goes to all those who have contributed to our success through the years.”

“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” is directed by Cook, with Sarah Jane Skinner.


· Musician – Jameson Inscho (guitar)

· Musician – Nolan Smith (percussion)

· Edward Tulane – Graham Waldrop

· The Traveler – Ava Fales

· Abilene – Bailee Henderson

· Pellegrina – Holli Rowan

· Father – Braxton White

· Amos – Colter Drake

· Martin – Jay Lee

· Lawrence – Logan Kee

· Nellie – Ariel Jacobs

· Lolly – London Phillippo

· Bull – Domenico Brunetti

· Lucy – Alex Renteria

· Jack – Rees Sheffield

· The Watchman – Jameson Inscho

· Hobos – Julian Skinner

· Hobo – Brandon Pipes

· Hobo – Victoria Sims

· The Old Lady – Carrie Betts

· Bryce – Slade Turbyfield

· Sarah Ruth – Lauren Chapin

· Marlene – Aubrey Martin

· Neal – Luke McGill

· Lucius Clarke – Braxton Floyd

· Old Doll – Audrey Nicholas


· Noah Reggie Warren

· Ashlin Schulte

· Ayla White

· Kaleigh Green

· Lily West

· Brandy Pylant

· Brady Scott

· Sage Andrews

· Zadria Harris

· Ilana Shadrick

· Kendra Brown

· Mallory Baldwin

· Alex Hieber

Stage crew

· Kaitlyn Cockrell

· Lily Abbott

· Emily Twilley

· Alex Hieber

Tech crew

· Jacob Burtis

· Skylar Moore

· Belle Hendrix

Stage crew

· Kaitlyn Cockrell

· Emily Twilley


· Kaitlyn Cockrell

· Eliana Hollis

Several students received All-Star cast accolades at Trumbauer, recognizing their unique contribution to the production. They include Graham Waldrop, Ava Fales, Bailey Henderson, Domenico Brunetti, Jameson Inscho and Holli Rowan.

Cullman also had numerous students receive superior ratings on individual events at Trumbauer.

“Cullman Theatre is now in the process of raising the funds to attend SETC in March,” Cook said. “There is a huge sponsorship campaign where individuals or businesses can sponsor Cullman Theatre for their trip and our spring production. They are selling tickets (with a chance to win $1,000) to their send-off show, which will be held Friday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. They are also looking for sponsors who will receive various perks including tickets, listing on a championship shirt, program listing and website listing.”

Those who would like to contribute to Cullman Theatre’s fundraiser for SETC should contact Cook at