Critical thinking, perseverance help Oakville High theatre students with play during the pandemic

Critical thinking, perseverance help Oakville High theatre students with play during the pandemic
Posted on 03/01/2021
OHS virtual theatre performanceTo safely host a play during the pandemic, the Oakville High School theatre program did something it has never done: They livestreamed their performances. 

“We didn’t want to lose the opportunities that theatre provides to students just because they couldn’t perform in front of a live audience,” said Melissa Harper, OHS theatre teacher. 

Transitioning from performing on-stage to performing for cameras presented challenges for the entire crew.

“You’re not on stage now,” said Harper. “You’ve got a camera that’s three feet away from you, so it’s going to pick things up differently than it would if you were on stage and trying to project to the back of the auditorium.” 
Macy Judd
Image: Oakville High School freshman Macy Judd performs in the virtual performance. 

OHS freshman Macy Judd’s role in “Bad Auditions … On Camera!” was her first theatrical performance. 

“I liked that we livestreamed the performance because I’m interested in film acting,” said Judd. “Being in front of the camera was a great experience for me.” 

Students created 13 different sets for the production so that each actor could have their own area to safely remove their mask during the performance. They converted the black box theater into a live studio production set. 

“Our largest challenge was definitely live-streaming and working the equipment,” said Isabella Wirthlin, a senior who served as the play’s director. “We would have camera issues or audio issues that would happen during the performance, and we’d have to quickly work to fix those issues. 
Isabella Wirthlin
Image: OHS senior Isabella Wirthlin directs the school's spring theatre performance via livestream. 

The work of OHS theatre students this spring to both plan and execute a live-streamed performance aligns with Mehlville School District’s Portrait of a Graduate traits of creative and critical thinker, and persistent. While students faced plenty of obstacles along the way, they maintained a growth mindset and collaborated to develop effective solutions. 

“I have never been more proud of them,” said Harper. “It gave them a great opportunity to play out that problem-solving and working with what they had. Even outside of theatre, it gave them so many opportunities that will benefit them in future programs.” 

Watch this video to hear more about OHS theatre’s spring performance. 

Students who contributed to the performance include: 
- Makayla Adams, actor
- Jeremiah Andrews, Light and Sound Crew Head
- Meghan Belaska, actor
- Megan Blanchard, Costume/Hair/Makeup Crew Head
- Sam Brummett, actor
- Sarah Brutton, actor
- Lilian Clevlen, actor
- Dierdre Davis, crew member
- Carlie Dobbins, crew member
- Grace Foley, actor
- Sam Girard, actor
- Chloe Housewright, actor
- Maddy Jones, actor
- Macy Judd, actor
- Taylor Kohring, crew member
- Cassandra Ludwig, actor
- Sophia Lutker, crew member
- Sienna McGilvery, actor
- Bella Moss, crew member
- Helen Murvihill, crew member
- Bonnie Niedermann, Assistant Director
- Mila Polzin, Set/Paint/Props Crew Head
- Nate Rouse, Assistant Director
- Isabella Wirthlin, Director

Staff members involved in the performance include:
- Jamie Daughaday, Creative Director
- Melissa Harper. Technical Director
- Chelsea Pulley, Producer

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].