When Bishop’s student performers—actors, dancers, singers and musicians—take the stage this year, it will be outdoors on a set designed and created by their peers in theater tech classes, with some expert assistance from the School’s facilities team.
The floor surface was chosen to work for dance, while the various levels allow the jazz band and orchestra to be physically distant, yet still feel connected to one another. Performing arts and technical design teacher A.J. Paulin notes, “We are also bringing in a lighting truss to bring our performances to the next level.”
He continues, “All of the students under my care have had a part in building the stage and scenic elements. The more advanced students in Advanced Theater Production (ATP) and Theater Design and Production 1 have been using their on-campus class time to learn about creating an outdoor arena. These students have also worked to take the indoor lighting and sound systems and move them to accommodate an outdoor arena. Students are even learning how to design for outdoor stages.” Specifically,
- Seventh Grade Arts Rotation Quarter 2 classes learned how to paint bricks using a process known as “scumbling and mopping.”
- Musical Theater 8 Tech class worked on some of the carpentry and painting related to the production
- Theater Design and Production 1 contributed to the carpentry, painting and property fabrication for the production.
This year’s fall play, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – Abridged” is the first production to put the outdoor stage to the test. Mr. Paulin says, “ATP students are the leaders of this production. Each student has had a hand in completing all of the various designs. Charlotte Banta '23 is stage managing the entire production and has been with the play since the very beginning. Ayden Chang '23 has been tackling carpentry when on campus. Alex Cotton '21 and Tristan Lichter '21 have been fabricating and designing props that range from six-foot-long swords to a pie with heads baked into them.
“When designing a show like this you have to think about space and transition between scenes. The set can do a lot more than moving walls. There are hidden doors, benches, and even a puppet theater built into the pieces. We are trying to give the illusion that these actors create this show night after night and thus have constructed the perfect set to accommodate their needs.
“This production has taken many hands to complete and been a labor of love and determination. Personally, I want this show to help bring some normal activities to students who feel like their 2020 school year is void of fun. Anytime we can produce a play, dance, jazz concert or choir performance we are telling our students, staff, and parents, ‘It is okay, we got you. For a couple of hours forget all of the bad, and focus on the good."