Lake Forest High School in north-suburban Chicago recently added curricular theater courses, and long-time theater fans hope the recent addition means students will take advantage of the opportunities being offered, reports Maeve Bradley in the school’s student newspaper.
“I would really suggest people take one theater class in their four years here, and then there are tons of opportunities outside of class where kids can get involved with theater,” Maeve quoted department lead Joe Pulio as saying. Mr Pulio has been directing theater at the school for almost 30 years.
After the Covid pandemic put high school theater on a Zoom screen for most of the country, students are looking forward to working on a stage, rather than at a kitchen table or bedroom desk.
“There are so many ways to get involved, not just on the acting side but also helping out with sound, lighting, set building, and more,” the paper quoted one senior thespian as saying. “For me personally, my freshman year One Acts was a great way to sort of test the waters and see if the theater was something I was interested in moving forward.
“As a freshman coming in, it gave me a sense of belonging and introduced me to a lot of older kids who served as mentors and role models for me,” the student continued, “Now, as a senior, it has given me the opportunity to hopefully be that role model for someone else and make them feel at home.”
In addition to relationships with others, in a good theater program brings significant personal gains for high school students.
“What theater really does is it develops an incredible sense of confidence, creativity, and the ability to be comfortable with who you are,” Mr Pulio was quoted as saying. “It ends up making you more successful because you are comfortable in your own skin.”