How shut-down of Salter has affected theater department

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Theater 40, depicted above, has been running independently from the high school for 56 years. It is an on-campus independent theater that will now host the upcoming drama lab show.

Emma Newman staff writer

The Salter Theater has been the “home,” according to drama teacher and director Kaz Chandler, of theater at the high school ever since the Peters auditorium shut down in 2015. However, due to a new phase in construction, the Salter theater is no longer open. Now, theater shows will be put on in different locations, depending on the size of the production. 

The upcoming Drama Lab production of  “War at Home,”  will be shown at Theater 40 on Sept. 11, 13 and 14.

The actual rehearsals for this show, however, now take place in a room in the science building. This change has been challenging for Drama Lab students like sophomore Taylor Fuchs, who plays the role of “Cheerleader” in the upcoming production. 

“We’ve had to adapt to the space, which was kind of difficult, but the learning was a little different as well [because] we don’t have a stage anymore,” Fuchs said. 

Now that the stage is not there, the learning environment has changed because the Salter theater stage was previously Chandler’s only teaching space. This caused many challenges, which are now resolved due to the new set-up. 

“[Now], I actually have a classroom,” Chandler said. “I actually have whiteboards. I actually have a place to collect student work and nobody can come in and say, ‘Hey, we have an assembly today. You need to leave your classroom,’ so that’s been amazing.” 

Chandler sees other benefits of the new theater set-up, including the positive aspects of having some of the larger productions at the Saban Theater. To her, the biggest plus-side of this new venue is the fact that this theater has a dressing room, unlike the Salter. 

However, Chandler recognizes some of the challenges that come with the theater department’s lack of a full-time stage. 

“This is going to be confusing for our people. We’re going to be all over the place, and we’re really hoping that people will make the effort to come to where the shows are,” she said. 

Even though everyone is being affected by this change, it has been particularly impactful for students who have performed in the Salter Theater before. On the other hand, sophomore Stephanie Ortiz, who plays the role of “Gadfly” in the upcoming production, thinks that it is easier for people who are not accustomed to performing in the Salter theater. 

“I grew up in the Salter since I’ve been performing there since I was little,” Ortiz said. “The people who are new don’t really get it.” 

Despite the effects of the shutdown of the theater, most students are trying to not look upon the change negatively. 

“Everyone’s been pretty acceptant of it,” Fuchs said. “We all acknowledge the fact that it’s a hard change and it’s not the best change that we’d like to have. We’re all very disappointed in it.” 

This is why, according to Chandler, the students have been good at looking at the bright side of the new theater set-up.  

“They’re rolling with the punches so hard and not complaining,” Chandler said. “They’re being amazing.”

 

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