Students on stage in thriving theater program
January 23, 2020 | View PDF
A monthly page highlighting what's going on at Shafter High School, coordinated by English teacher Larissa Davis.
The theater program at Shafter High School has been thriving over the past few years, with Hal Friedman as the new program director. Students are able to take three different courses throughout the day: Tech Theater, Theater 1 and Advanced Theater.
Tech Theater is a course that teaches students all about the workings of a set. Students learn how to design, build and paint a set for a play or musical. They also learn how to create props and costumes for different productions. Every production that occurs at Shafter High School is designed and built by the students during their Tech Theater class time.
The Theater 1 class is a course that teaches students the basics of acting. They learn what it takes to create a character on stage, how to have stage presence and how gain confidence in front of an audience.
The students that take the Advanced Theater class must audition to be in the course. In the advanced class, students build upon existing acting skills and begin to focus on the performance aspect of acting when working on scenes from a play. Throughout the course, students participate in competitions to show off their talents, such as the CSUB Spotlight Festival and the Shakespeare Festival.
Every year, the acting group from Shafter High School ranks highly at these festivals, and many individual students win featured awards. This is a testament to the hard work they put in throughout the year in the classroom.
Every year, the theater program puts on a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. This year, the spring musical will be [BEGIN ITAL]Chicago,[END ITAL] and the production will be in May. The program also began a new tradition with [BEGIN ITAL]Shafter Night Live. [END ITAL] This performance is a fresh Shafter take on the popular nighttime show [BEGIN ITAL]Saturday Night Live. [END ITAL] Last year was its inaugural performance, and it quickly became a new tradition.
Another fun tradition the theater program does each year is the Haunted House in October. The students create a theme for the house, design and create the set, and become the actors throughout the house to scare anyone that dares to enter.
The program director, Hal Friedman, has a long history with the theater world and was thrilled to bring his knowledge and passion to Shafter High School. He has always seen himself as a teacher when working with young actors and those early in their career.
Teaching has always been something he loved so it was a natural progression to teach adolescents in the high school classroom. Friedman's hope for students is that "they become lifelong lovers for theater, present themselves with confidence, hone in on their acting skills and learn what it takes to be an actor."