Theater Department Encourages More Participation

Theater Department Encourages More Participation

Maeve Bradley, In LFHS Editor

The curricular theater program at Lake Forest High School is only a recent addition to the school’s offered courses. It’s hoping to boost enrollment as the program bounces back from two years of COVID restrictions.

Before individual classes became available to students, the Theater Department consisted of a fall show, a freshman/sophomore show, a winter show, and the spring musical. These shows were exclusively extracurricular options for those interested in the performing arts. 

Under former Principal Dr. Chala Holland’s leadership and the work of theater teachers, students, and parents, the school established Theater 1, 2, and 3, as well as Stagecraft, and Theater Tech Design 1 and 2. 

Theater classes help students to develop skills that incorporate voice, body, ensemble, fundamental acting techniques, and monologue development. Exercises continue to vary within each class level.

With the theater program expanding and developing over the years, there have been several spots open for both experienced and non-experienced students. Kids are strongly encouraged to get involved by department leads and current theater students. 

“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,” said Department lead Mr. Joe Pulio, who has been directing LFHS theater for almost 30 years.

Senior Jack Taylor has been an avid participant in the school’s productions, performing in 11 shows throughout his high school career. 

“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,” said Taylor. “For me personally, my freshman year One Acts was a great way to sort of test the waters and see if theater was something I was interested in moving forward.”

As the world acclimated to living life behind a screen during the pandemic, it posed a challenge for the department as students had no way to perform to an audience, let alone on a stage.  

Post COVID, the program recognizes the importance of getting students back into the complete setting of theater, whether they are performing or supporting. 

Having shows without restrictions and a full audience is something that Taylor is  “not taking for granted this year.”

Pulio acknowledges the benefits of how theatrical skills reflect in daily life and is looking for any students who have a slight interest in the arts. 

“What theater really does is it develops an incredible sense of confidence, creativity, and the  ability to be comfortable with who you are,”  said Pulio. “It ends up making you more successful because you are comfortable in your own skin.”

Students are encouraged to talk to their counselors about signing up for theater classes and to consider trying out for an upcoming play. 

“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,” said Taylor. “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.”