With our new L building having finished construction and our new theater program in place, many students are very excited to be ableto join drama and get a taste of the spotlight on stage. Our newest drama teacher, Mrs. White answers some questions a lot of us may have about her as the drama teacher, and about the drama program as a whole.
What has your experience being Freedom’s drama teacher been like so far?
"It’s been very exciting. I found out that I was offered the position right before spring break of last year. I was able to produce the first live performance since the beginning of the pandemic outdoors last spring. Then at the beginning of this year, we came in with a lot of excitement with the group I worked with last spring, and then the program has grown a lot. One challenge that’s also a blessing is that my beginning class has 51 students enrolled in it. We started with I think 60. They switched some schedules around and it sort of balanced out at around 51. It’s 8th period and I have a lot of freshmen and sophomores in that class who are adjusting to being at high school really. The freshmen and sophomores haven’t had an opportunity to experience high school until now. It can be a challenge with behavior and especially with a class like theater it’s unstructured at some times. But overall it’s great. I think theater classes are really important for any school."
How many students have joined drama so far?
"Well between my combined classes, I have nearly 80 students taking the class. And then there are at least 15 other ones who are just doing center stage (Theater Club), either acting or as tech and stagehands."
Has being the drama teacher been exciting, stressful, or both?
"Both. (laughter) For sure. I’ll be honest with that."
Are you excited for the future of FHS drama?
"I’m very excited. One reason is because the Performing Arts Center should be opening up for us really soon. I think that’ll bring a lot of excitement and interest into wanting to come and see shows there. We have a pretty exciting season of plays coming up. We’re going to host a talent show at the end of October. So that will be open to the whole school. We will audition for that on October 20th. And we’ll take any kind of acts. Singing, comedy, dancing, gymnastics. We want just a wide variety of talent to showcase. And after, we’ll do an improv show in December. We’re talking about possibly joining with Liberty Highschool’s improv team and doing an improv show together in December with them. Then, we’re doing a really exciting play called “Puffs” at the end of January, beginning of February. There will be more information coming out about that."
What kind of planning do you usually do for drama?
"Planning for the class is one thing. I have my beginning lessons where I just teach them about the fundamentals. The tools of the actor, the voice, the body movement, and how to get the mind wrapped around the character. With my more advanced, it’s a combined theater 2-3 class. So my third and fourth-year students in that class are pretty self-driven. We do a lot of scene work and a lot of them are actually working during class on our show that we produced last weekend. For the afterschool program, that’s a lot of planning as well. I need to be able to pick the plays, get the licensing for them, make sure we have marketing happening, make sure we have somebody in all areas of the theater. You have the people in front taking tickets, selling concessions, making sure the audience knows where to go and what to do. We have the tech booth people who run the lights and sound. Then we have the actors of course. And then we have a huge crew backstage. I have stage managers and stagehands who make sure props are in the right place and actors know when we’re starting and where they’re supposed to be. We had some students volunteer to help with makeup this time. Set building is a huge part of it. So it really feels like I’m managing a whole entire group of students in various areas at a time. So that’s where the stress sometimes comes in making sure everybody is where they need to be, but I have to say this group of students here is great. They do things without being asked, or if they don’t know they ask. They are willing to work hard to make it the best that we possibly can. I’m lucky to have a motivated, hard-working group of students."
Are you having fun as the new drama teacher?