TRAINER Bobby Burgess (Colin Chin) and his ace boxer Cameron Burns (Mason Murray) strike a deal as Burns’ dream of turning pro comes true in the award-winning “Beautiful  Burnout” (Dan Mills Photo)


NORTH READING — Well, they did it again! The North Reading High School Masquers has qualified for the state finals in the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild’s Dramafest competition with its knockout production of “Beautiful Burnout.”

From an original field of 90 schools competing in the preliminary round at various venues around the state three weeks ago to last weekend’s semifinal round of 44 schools statewide, the Masquers’ victory on Saturday at the Weymouth venue has catapulted them into the state finals where they will compete against 13 other state finalists.

The state finals will take place over three days at the John Hancock Tower in Boston’s Back Bay from Thursday, March 30 through Saturday, April 1.

“We drew fifth so we are performing Friday, March 31 at 1 p.m. at the John Hancock in the Back Bay,” Theater Arts Director Allison Kane proudly told the Transcript.

The Beautiful Burnout definitely packs a punch, from the set design and the lighting to the acting and the choreographed sparring – all in a very compact space where the hopes and dreams of the individual characters evolved.

BEHIND the glamorous life of every boxer is the mother who does his endless laundry laments Carlotta Burns (Lucy Wagner). Her performance at the state semifinals in “Beautiful Burnout” won her a Best Acting Award. (Dan Mills Photo)

Set in Glasgow, Scotland, the Masquers had to master boxing and the Glasgow dialect while executing phenomenal teamwork skills before and after the performance in the setting up and breaking down of the set designed and built by the students. Under the one-act competition rules everything is timed. With the entire play taking place within the confines of a compact raised and lit boxing ring in a space that doubled as the protagonist’s home, the lighting design played a prominent role. A multimedia backdrop integrated into the set design pulls it all together.

Kudos goes to Jim McNally of Jim McNally Boxing, 48 Main St., who worked with the actors and actresses for several weeks and put them through all the paces of a typical boxing training regimen to give the audience an authentic experience of being ringside during the boxing workouts and competition.

Multiple awards won

The work these students devoted to their craft did not go unrecognized by the judges who presented both cast and crew with multiple awards in the semifinal round, complement awards previously won at the preliminaries.

Individual Best Acting Awards were won by three Masquers: senior Mason Murray for his portrayal of the boxer Cameron Burns, junior Dylan Mills for his portrayal of the boxer Ajay Chopra, and senior Lucy Wagner for her portrayal of Cameron’s mother, Carlotta Burns.

The Excellence in Stage Management Award was presented to junior Piper Kirwin.

BEAUTIFUL BURNOUT is among 14 schools the state finals of Dramafest in Boston March 31. The actors are (front row, l-r): Marshall Murray, Brian Conlon, Allie Duff, James Dillon; (back row, l-r): Lucy Wagner, Mason Murray, Molly Giunta, Colin Chin. (Allison Kane Photo)

The award for Best Lighting Design was won by sophomore  Daniela Voisinet.

Three students, senior Molly Giunta, junior Dylan Mills and senior Molly Duff, won the Excellence in Choreography award.

Lastly, the award for Best Set Design was awarded to eight Masquers: junior Danika Reid, junior James Dillon, sophomore Sofia Naulivou, sophomore Daniela Voisinet, senior Mason Murray, senior Lucy Wagner, junior Piper Kirwin and senior Allie Duff.

Tickets to attend the state finals can be purchased online at: