By Mamta Lulla
With the Theatre Arts Program at Spruce Grove Composite High School, students not only learn to put on shows together, but they also gain credit for it – take this year’s Christmas musical for example.
Close to 100 students from Grades 10, 11 and 12 are participating in the musical that’s set to delight audiences at Horizon Stage on Dec 7 & 8. Students are putting on a musical called My Son Pinocchio, based on Disney’s Pinocchio with a focus on Geppetto.
The school’s theatre arts program has been going on for many years, giving students a chance to put on productions. The tickets to the show on Friday are already sold-out but there are tickets available for the Thursday’s show. They can be purchased for $15 at the school.
Caedmon Nagel, Grade 12 student who plays Geppetto said the all-around humorous musical focuses on Geppetto learning to be a good father to his son, Pinocchio. He learns that his son doesn’t know everything.
Nagel said playing Geppetto is teaching him to be patient.
“Geppetto’s character is very impatient with Pinocchio, and he assumes Pinocchio knows everything instantly,” he said. “If he took one moment to listen to Pinocchio, he would be a better father.”
Nagel said what he enjoys about acting is his expanding worldview thanks to each character he plays. Each show helps him learn a whole new take on everything in life.
“It feels like you live through all these things and you take lessons from everything,” he said.
Nagel said the musical is funny throughout, adding that the audience will become emotionally attached to the relationship between the father and the son.
Carol Murray-Gilchrist, performing arts teacher and director said the theatre arts program’s hands-on class teaches students about stage roles – both on and off. Students not only learn to act but they also learn skills like working together as a team.
“They learn to put their egos aside and focus on the show and the audience,” she said.
The theatre arts program is building a reputation in the Tri-Region. The tickets are selling out sooner, which Murray-Gilchrist believes is a testament to how much people like the student productions year-after-year.
“They seem very pleased at both ends – students are empowered learning about theatre and what it takes to put on a good show and the audience is able to celebrate the successes of students,” she said.
The theatre arts program at the school allows students to participate in two major productions every school year. Students also get to take part in One-act plays.
Nagel, who is playing a lead role for the second time has been acting for many years and credits his teacher, Murray-Gilchrist, for everything he had learned.
He is looking forward to the summer as he would be heading off to Vancouver Film School to further his acting career.
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