Theatre Design and Technology

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New PHS class takes students back stage

Posted May 8, 2017

When the Plymouth High School advanced acting class presents its original play, "Relationships: The WRITE Way!" on May 12 and 13, working behind the scenes will be students from a new class, Theatre Design and Technology.

The new course gives students hands-on opportunities related to producing theatrical performances. This semester-long elective, open to juniors and seniors, is taught by drama teacher Janet DeJean Newton and supplemented by insights from industry professionals.

Theatre Design and Technology partners with the advanced acting class, also known as the Amph-Rats, which presents a previously published work each April and an original work each May. With “Relationships,” for example, Theatre Design and Technology students are responsible for creating costumes, sets and props, as well as lighting and sound design. Students also are organizing and pulling costumes for the Union Cemetery Walk on May 21, which will feature PHS students in period costumes re-enacting the lives of past residents.

The class also features a variety of creative hands-on projects, among them:

  • Telling a 30- to 60-second story using only light and sound.
  • Designing dresses using only paper and tape.
  • As a culminating activity, creating a project to explore a chosen element of theatre design and technology.

Mrs. Newton arranged for a number of guest speakers to bring additional technical expertise to the classroom:

  • Gary Kaiser, Plymouth School District theater manager
  • Dick Grunert, a writer with Cartoon Network in Los Angeles and a former student of hers who wrote the PHS 2008 fall play “Scenes from a Dance” and has promised to write another for the 2017 fall play
  • Charlie Krebs of Lakeland University, speaking about lighting design
  • Christopher Guse of UW-Milwaukee, speaking about sound design
  • Technicians from Milwaukee-based Studio Gear, who visited PHS to set up for the Sargento employee annual meeting in February
  • Artists from Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, made possible thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Plymouth Education Foundation

Theatre Design and Tech students also attended a number of professional productions, among them:

  • “Romeo and Juliet” on March 16 in Oshkosh
  • “The Glass Menagerie” on March 21 at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre
  • “Jane Eyre” on May 16 at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre

Learn more:
View an article about the production of "Relationships: The WRITE Way!"
View an article about the Union Cemetery Walk.
• To learn more, contact PHS English and drama teacher Janet DeJean Newton at (920) 893-6911.
Check out The Arts section of our District Report Card to learn more about the extensive and varied performance opportunities available to our students.