Houston Secondary School’s (HSS) drama classes have been going full swing with work on a new drama room and a few plays planned for the drama class.
HSS’s new drama teacher Katelyn Clark has been making some major changes over at the school with getting more students involved in all aspects of theatre from onstage performances to backstage or behind-the-scenes work.
“I love theatre and that’s kind of what my background is in and I am working with a group of students who have actually put in time after school to paint the drama school, do some set building, and we have got the lighting system all set up again which is awesome; so they are just learning all the technical aspects of theatre and have been putting in a lot of their own time, which is really awesome,” she said.
One of the drama classes, put on a play on Nov.5 that featured half the class performing and the other half backstage. Costumes were designed by Rionna Roberge and Eleanor Namox while the lighting design was by Mitchell Sullivan.
“There were students doing costume designs, stage management, one of the students has done all the sound design; we had a couple of students working on designing the poster and the program for the performance. It was awesome because that way there was a job for everyone,” said Clark.
The play was a series of scenes from Amelia and the Dwarfs by Erin Shields. It’s about a mischievous young person who gets in over her head and doesn’t listen to the advice of the people in her life and is out playing by a haystack when she is kidnapped by dwarfs. They take her underground where she has to do a bunch of tasks and use her wit to outsmart the dwarfs and escape back to the real life.
The class however wasn’t able to perform in front of a larger audience due to the COVID restrictions.
“Because of COVID we aren’t able to make the performances public but they were able to perform in front of the staff and teaching assistants, so we were still able to put together a small audience, which was great. And for those students who were in Grade 8 and 9, that would’ve been their first time doing a play like that, which in a weird way was good because it took the pressure off of doing a big performance in front of a huge audience,” said Clark.
While one of the students was able to record the play for the parents, the school won’t be posting it online.
“I am hoping we will have another play go up by the end of January but in the meantime, we are carving out a little space in the school that we can use for performances,” she said, adding that the room which they are using has been used for a lot of different things in the past. It used to be a music room and back in the day there also was a full stage setup there.
“The room went through some renovation later, but we are trying to get it setup again for theatre,” said Clark.