Rossland class to represent region at drama fest

The Rossland Secondary School drama class is having a bottle drive this weekend to raise funds for their trip to the Provincial Drama Fest.

The RSS Drama class will be heading to the Coast in May to represent the region at the Provincial Drama Fest. The 27 students will be performing their self-produced play Family. They are also doing a bottle drive on Saturday.

The RSS drama class is having a bottle drive this weekend to raise funds for their upcoming trip to the Provincial Drama Fest.

The class was asked to represent the region after taking part in the West Kootenay Drama Fest.

There they received the award for Best Ensemble work and two Excellence in Acting awards for their self-written play Family.

Drama teacher Lisa Henderson said the class is excited about the trip.

She said the students in the class work very well together and is comprised of about half grade 8 and 9 students and half 11 and 12 students.

The content for the play first came about two years ago, when Henderson asked her then class to submit their personal family stories.

“The stories are anything that comes up in families, and a lot of it is auto-biographical,” Henderson said, adding that the class two years ago had performed it in its first version, but there were no provincial or even regional festivals to take it to.

“We then had the opportunity to revamp it (this year) and expand it,” she said. The first time around, Henderson had only 16 students in the class, this year she has 28. So they added new stories and changed old stories. There is one student there from the original cast, Maddie Taylor-Gregg who is co-directing with Marlon Heraud, as well as acting in the play.

Taylor-Gregg said it’s just exciting to be headed to an event on the provincial level.

“This is the first time I’ve done any sort of competition at this level,” she said.

Heraud agreed.

“I’m excited about how we get to travel a bit and show other people, not just the locals,” he said.

They both said there are challenges to directing such a large group, but agreed that it’s a lot of fun when it all comes together.

Most of the class had never performed on stage.

Some of the stories are also from Henderson’s own personal vault, such as the recollection of her father dying.

“It’s all woven in here it’s a piece that’s called an ensemble piece,” she said. “These stories just overlap, people come in, say a few things and then they’re gone. They’re sharing their stories. When we performed it twice that first year, it had made people laugh and made people cry, there are some really touching moments, but there is some really funny stuff.”

They head out to New Westminster for the festival on May 2 and will be back May 6.

The students will also be able to attend workshops by specialists in fields such as special effects, make-up, stage fighting and mask work.

The trip won’t be cheap though, with entrance fees, hotel and food costing $7,200. Henderson said on top of that they have to rent two 15-person vans and cover three teachers on call, so they need all the old bottles, juice boxes and cans they can get. The bottle drive will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 31 and go until 3 p.m.

Students will be doing curbside pick-up and there will be a drop off at the lot across from the Prestige.

For curbside pick-up, contact Henderson at 362-9063.

Henderson started the drama program at RSS in 1979.

“It started off with seven girls in a grade 12 class,” she said. “It got to a point where I had to give up my English and Social Studies classes because I was teaching straight drama, back when our school list was a bit bigger.”

This will be the fourth time that her class has been invited to represent the region. She said though that was pretty good odds, since they only entered plays a dozen or so times since she started.


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