WEB EXCLUSIVE The second round of auditions for Convent & Stuart Hall’s environmentally-themed Fall Play took place today over Zoom, providing students a chance to express their creativity through a prepared monologue.
Students from Grades K-12 makeup Convent & Stuart Hall’s Theater Program, creating space for students of all ages to practice and learn about what happens in front and behind the curtain.
“Having theater available to me during this time allows me to stay connected to art which is something I personally value,” senior Kat de Mesa said. “It’s also helpful in that it pushes me to stay productive in a time where it is so easy to procrastinate.”
To new students and returning performers, theater provides a sense of regularity during the unusual circumstances of shelter-in-place, according to senior Halsey Williamson.
“I normally am pretty involved in theater inside and outside of school, and continuing this activity really helps to keep me grounded,” Williamson said. “In such an abnormal time it can always help to continue to participate in the activities that you normally do, theater included.”
Although the theater community at Convent & Stuart Hall gives many a familiar feeling from viewing or being a part of past productions, the coronavirus pandemic prompted the theater department to get creative and search for new ways to engage students.
“Moving online has forced us to be innovative and ‘think outside the box’ even though we are all existing in the Zoom box,” Theater Programs Director Margaret Hee said. “It has opened up opportunities for students to write plays, meet professional theater and film artists, view a variety of theater productions from around the world and connect with like minded theater students from other schools.”
Opportunities for students participating in the program, such as working with new directors or expanding the curriculum for the technology crew, expand the sense of community within theater.
“I think the biggest benefit is the sense of normalcy it can provide for some people,” Williamson said. “In such an abnormal time it can always help to continue to participate in the activities that you normally do, theater included.”
Art responds to the times and expands perspectives about the world, and continuing theater during the pandemic helps students continue to connect, according to Hee.
“The way theater is structured, we are encouraged to work with each other even outside of the allotted rehearsal time,” de Mesa said. “While the community aspect does change as most things do online, the connections between everyone feel just as strong and genuine.”