The Andover High School Drama Department taps a true story for its entry as it hosts a preliminary round of the 2014 Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild Drama Festival this weekend.

Andover will join the Drama Departments from seven other high schools in presenting their festival entries on the stage of the Collins Center in town on Saturday, March 1 starting at 9 a.m.

Each play will be presented in a condensed, 45-minute format for this competition, with three of the eight schools ultimately selected by the judges to advance to the next level of competition.

Andover High Schools entry tackles a real-lfe drama set in 1926. “Radium Girls” traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a watch dial painter, as she fights for her life and her day in court during a time when radium was seen as a miracle cure and the dangers of radioactivity were not fully understood.

Fryer led a charge to seek justice from a company whose owners knew radium was dangerous, but whose greed kept factory girls working with radium paint to fulfill lucrative military contracts.

The fast-moving ensemble piece is written for nine to 10 actors, who play more than 30 parts, including friends, coworkers, lovers, relatives, attorneys, scientists, consumer advocates and interested bystanders.

The annual theater showcase spotlights high school drama programs and young actors from across the state. Tickets for the entire day are $10.

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Festival lineup

Andover High’s Drama Department will be the second entrant to perform its piece on the stage of the Collins Center at Andover High, 80 Shawsheen Road. The schedule for Saturday is:

9 a.m.: Cambridge Rindge & Latin, “(Anon(ymous)”

10 a.m.: Andover High School, “Radium Girls”

11:15 a.m.: Matignon High School, Somerville “The Little Drama Guild That Could”

12:15 p.m.: Shrewsbury High School, “Enchanted April”

2 p.m.: Newton Country Day School, “Wiley & The Hairy Man”

3 p.m.: Worcester Academy, “Experiments in the Garden of Eden”

4:30 p.m.: Everett High School, “Cocoanut Soup at the Palace”

5:30 p.m.: Medford High School, “Mirrors”

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