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Costume designer Abigail Martian earns high accolades; hosts trip fundraisers

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Scappoose High School Senior Abigail Martian, riffles through a collection of costumes backstage on Monday, April 23. Martian has helped as a costume designer for numerous school plays and musicals. She has added a variety of new outfits to the schools collection from findings at thrift stores or by way of her own closet.For one Scappoose High School drama student, fashion and design have been on-stage outlets for her creative passion, and now she has the chance to showcase her talent at a national venue.

Abigail Martian, a high school senior, earned a first-place award at the Oregon Thespian Festival for costume design earlier this month, making her one of the first SHS students to earn a spot at the International Thespians Festival this summer.

The Oregon Thespian Festival is a state chapter of the international program, which is an affiliate of the Educational Theater Association. Martian, who has been a registered thespian with the program for the past two years, said she had no idea she would receive such high honors for the costumes she designed for the spring musical, "The Imaginary Invalid," at the state festival.

The accolade automatically qualifies her to attend the national festival in June. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the week-long event, which provides a chance to connect with college programs, compete for scholarships and on-stage competitions, and meet other student actors.

"Nationals was never, ever a possibility. I didn't even think I was going to get first at state. I thought maybe I would place, and that was my goal, and I thought that would be so cool," Martian explained. "But when I saw that I got first and went up to get my ribbon, they said anyone who specialized had the opportunity to go to the National Thespian Conference."

Martian aspires to professional work in costume design or the fashion industry, and said the conference would be good for networking.

When she looked at the registration fees and costs of travel, lodging and food to attend, however, the $1,500 price tag loomed as a daunting, major obstacle. The youngest of eight sibling and the daughter of a single mother, Martian explained if she wanted to attend, she knew she would need to do a lot of fundraising before the May 1 registration deadline.

Martian has hosted can and bottle recycling collection drives, found babysitting jobs, and collected donations from friends and family. She and her family have also started an online crowdfunding page to help reach her goal.

Scappoose drama teacher Zach Olson is also helping organize a "Minute To Give It" fundraiser during the Friday, April 27, showing of the spring musical, "The Imaginary Invalid," to help Martian pay for the trip.

Abigail Martian"It's exciting because I know it's one of the things she wants to do after college, and in college so it's cool that she can get started and build her resume," Olson said.

Martian said she has always felt a strong personal connection to fashion and style, in particular what other people wear to express themselves. As she has worked on the set of various plays at Scappoose High, Martian said she has learned more and more about how clothing can change the demeanor and attitude of her fellow students, especially when they are on stage.

"I really love watching an actor, seeing the difference between how they act when they're dressed normal and then they put on their costume and go out there, you can see it's like a different person, and they're confident in being someone else," Martian said.

Olson said he has admired Martian's growth and ability to grow as a costume designer for the theater productions

"I'm super proud of her," Olson said. "She's worked really hard for several years fine-tuning her costume strategy."

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