High schoolers take on leadership positions in middle form play


Charlotte Ehrlich

Assistant Director Trip Gorman runs lines with seventh grader Amelia Alton during a weekday rehearsal. High schoolers worked as stage managers, choreographers, and costume designers.

Tabitha Parent, Charlotte Ehrlich, Grace Krumplitsch, Reporters

WEB EXCLUSIVE Convent & Stuart Hall high schoolers rehearsed backstage tonight as production managers, costume designers, and lighting designers in preparation for the middle form’s “The Wind in the Willows” opening night performance tomorrow.

“The goal is to build a mentorship structure and also to give high school students more opportunities to try on different hats,” Theater Programs Director Margaret Grace Hee said. “I have honestly never been in an environment where students are this committed to the work and also simultaneously seem to enjoy it as much as they do.”

Not only is the collaboration benefitting the middle form actors, but high schoolers are gaining new insights into the work required to open a show.

“This partnership allows me to see school productions from a different perspective,” Assistant Director Trip Gorman said. “This leadership position has made me a better cast member, as I now know how to interpret directions from my superiors far better.”

High school mentors attended three to four rehearsals every week to light the set, sew costumes and call cues.

“I have been watching [lighting designer Anya Hilpert] teach and it has been really neat to see her go up into the booth and teach the middle schoolers how to use the lighting board,” Hee said. “There is nothing more fascinating to middle form students than working with high school students. It gets them really excited.”

High schoolers also helped the middle form cast members memorize their lines, learn choreography and work through their blocking.

“The high schoolers have given us their knowledge because they have been in our shoes,”  eighth-grader Chloe Dalzell said. “They can really teach us differently than how an adult director would teach us.”

“The Wind in the Willows” opens tomorrow night at 7 p.m. and runs through Jan. 26. Tickets cost $10 and are available online or at the doors of Syufy Theatre.