Making space in the spotlight for the beginning drama students


Allison Bredow

Beginning drama students listed left to right, top to bottom, Jack Childs, Dylan O’Ward, Lili Walter, Hanna Janson, Jaden Nissen, Cavan Donery, Georgia Conway, Maisie Ferner, Zara Prime, and Maiya Porter smile together in preparation for their upcoming production.

The spotlight often shines on Archie William’s advanced drama students, preparing for college and their creative careers. However, the time has come to open the curtain on beginning drama students as they explore their passions and grow in their craft.

Archie Williams’ drama department has two sections, beginning and advanced. The two have separate productions throughout the year. Marian or the True Tale of Robin Hood is Beginning Drama’s newest production, sparking excitement around campus and among the students involved.

Left to right, Zara Prime, in her Robin Hood costume and Georgia Conway, in her Marian costume, stand back to back representing the gender duality of their character. (Allison Bredow)

Beginning drama students are often supported by advanced drama students, like the ones involved with the program’s publicity team. Junior Zoë Dombrosky is a part of the advanced publicity team.

“It’s so cool to see people using their talents for these big community things. Everyone gets to enjoy it,” Zoë said.

The production is a modern take on the traditional Robin Hood story. The key change is that the usual leads, Robin Hood and his love interest Marian, become one character. Marian’s secret identity is Robin Hood. This seemingly simple change shifts the original idea of Robin Hood, featuring female empowerment and reversing stereotypical power dynamics.

“It’s a traditional story with a ton of modern ideas in it, which I think is very funny because we are a bunch of people from the 1190s doing things that people in the 1190s would not do,” said freshman Georgia Conway. “In one scene we are sword fighting and in the next scene one of the merrymen is coming out as non-binary.”

Marian or the True Tale of Robin Hood lead, Georgia Conway smiles in her 12th century Marian costume. (Allison Bredow)

These bold ideas and unique take on the traditional Robin Hood story allow the beginning drama students to get out of their comfort zone and explore a new production. On stage chemistry is key in tackling its occasionally controversial topics. Freshman Hanna Janson believes this is present in their tightly-knit cast.

“Everyone on stage has such chemistry, it’s just such a fun show,” Hanna said.

The relationships and bonds built between cast members over their craft, on and off stage are especially unique. Cast energy is infectious and exciting, which translates directly to the story told on stage.

“My favorite part about this production is seeing the relationships that the different actors and students create…the passion over your craft makes the friendships so special,” Zoë said.

The drama program draws students by prioritizing an independent and active approach to creative learning. With education being a place of strict curriculums and testing environments, creative outlets create a crucial space for high school students. They are able to explore passions and learn about themselves along the way.

“I signed up for drama because it is one of the only classes where you aren’t sitting in front of a screen or a notebook,” Georgia said. “It’s an active classroom environment… It’s nice to have that one class where you can be creative and not just sit there.”

Beginning and advanced drama students alike are able to get the most out of their classes with this independent learning approach. Whether that passion is costuming, stage managing, or acting.

“There are niche interests within theater, it’s not just one thing, it’s not just acting,” Zoë said.

“There are niche interests within theater, it’s not just one thing, it’s not just acting,”

— Zoë Dombrosky

Students who aren’t involved in the program may not realize how crucial peer support is in drama and the success of their production.

“It is really cool work and I don’t think many people recognize that. It is nice to have an outlet like photos and social media to show people that aren’t involved in our program how cool it is and why we need people to support us so we can keep doing what we love,” Zoë said.

Hanna highlights how her passion and the costumes affect the show in the new Robin Hood production.

Hanna Janson, playing Alanna and Georgia Conway, playing Marian/Robin Hood stand together and portray the female empowerment present in their production. (Allison Bredow)

“It’s definitely cool to be able to embody a character from the 1190s, not something you get to do every day,” Hanna said. “Putting on a corset and sword fighting is a really cool feeling. Every aspect of this show is its own cool thing.”

With the freedom to choose your role in the class, Hanna is able to explore her passions in costuming as well as acting. She and other drama students are guided by the head of the drama department and beloved teacher, Jasper Thelin.

These beginning drama students are honing their craft through experience and sharing their excitement with their peers and community members through their productions. The beginning drama students are ready to take the stage in Marian or the True Tale of Robin Hood and show their audience their talent and passion for theater.