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The Empty Stage

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The drama program at Seward High School used to be unbelievable — producing an amazing play each semester. Students had the opportunity to flourish in their acting and stagecraft skills. Each play was rehearsed until perfection and each set designed down to the smallest details. Then, those three nights of the performance would arrive, filling the theater with chatting people. The lights would dim and the talking became still, everyone’s attention drawn to the lit stage. Unfortunately, for nearly a year and a half, the school has been deprived of a theater class.  However, currently, the students and staff are ready for the program to make a comeback. But what will it take?

This question lead to a hundred more. Would students even be interested in reinstating drama? Would there be participation? The writers of SHStoday.org decided to investigate, conducting a student survey, including the following questions: What would you contribute to the drama program? Would you enroll in drama class? Final results showed, 40 out of 89 students said they would enroll in the drama program — that’s about 45%! 32 out of 48 students (67%) claimed that they would watch the productions, but would opt from taking the class. Many other students responded with other positive contributions to the program, such as costume and makeup designs, set building, and lighting or other technical duties. These results showed that there is enough student interest to support a striving drama program.

However, student interest is not the only aspect needed for drama to become successful. The school will also need teacher, parent, and community support. Mr. Marshall had been the drama teacher for many years before the program ended and has stated that he has made the offer to teach the class again. In an interview with Mr. Walker, he told us he believes the drama program had a positive impact on the students at the school and would love to see it in the master schedule again. Theater director, Wolfgang (Wolf) Kurtz, has been working to clean the stage and surrounding areas of old paint and props. The school has received new equipment, and Wolf hopes to replace other technical features in the future. He is also supportive of the drama program making a comeback. According to Mr. Marshall, the past drama programs attracted a great amount of parents willing to help behind the scenes and many community members happy to advertise around town. It is clear that gaining the support of parents and community members will be fairly easy.

After talking to teachers and reviewing the results of the drama survey, we can see that there is an obvious want for the drama program. The students want it, the teacher and principal want it, and the theater director wants it. So, where is it? Senior and past play participant, Kaylee Brockman said “the play’s bring the community together and provide a chance for students to get into good colleges,” and she is not wrong. Hopefully, with the support from the students, staff, and community, we will be able to renew Seward High School’s reputation of an unbelievable drama program.

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