If you walk by the KHS auditorium on any given day after school, you’re likely to hear people running lines, breaking out in song, or letting out big belly laughs. It’s the Theatre Club holding their regular meeting. The 25 active members are most likely rehearsing, building sets, or planning fundraisers for the two main productions they put on each school year. They may also just be doing a little bit of team bonding. Not that they really need it.
“We’re all family here,” explained Braden Lesh. “Everyone loves each other.”
Maekaili Russell agrees, “It’s everything we go through that makes us a family. We get to understand each other through the process of working together.”
There’s an overwhelming feeling of appreciation and acceptance among the group that’s easy to see; making the vulnerability that comes with acting and performing a little easier.
“Once you enter, you understand that no one will judge you for anything. At all,” Taya Deal emphasized. “You can do the chicken dance and people would join you.”
This year, the club has put on Arsenic and Old Lace and Love’s Labour’s Lost. The dedicated group is completely self-funded. With the average play costing about $2,000 to produce, and the average musical costing $3,500, fundraising is a near constant endeavor. Being part of Theatre Club also requires a fair amount of DIY time, as the students build, paint, disassemble and rebuild their own sets. For all that these students put in, they get even more out.
“I struggle with anxiety and theater helps me break from that shell,” shared Lauren Cramtom. “I can get up and perform for people, but I can’t always talk to them. It helps me realize that people aren’t so scary.”
Rowan Bratton added, “Since being in theater, I’m able to show more of my emotions.” And Levi Redmill said, “Theater helped me build more lasting and meaningful relationships; and how to help others when they’re not feeling great.”
With added benefits like that, it’s no wonder club alumni come back to support current members. Some even travel quite a way to do it, like Michael McMahon who takes a six-hour train ride from Western Washington University to see shows.
That’s not really too surprising to club advisor Sharayah Lovell, whose own passion for theater is hard to beat. She’s been doing theater since she was in third grade and is quick to say one of the best things is “getting to experience this thing I love with them. These kids are phenomenal.”