RCHS Theater Faces Trouble


Empty Auditorium at RCHS.

Arden Courtney Collins, Reporter

RCHS has been having troubles in its theater department ever since long time theater teacher Linda Gorman retired two years ago. RCHS has not found a fulltime replacement to continue its theater program. 

Last year theater was taken over by Christina Twerdy, who had little theater experience, but had a background in dance. 

Junior Andrew Hartless took class with Gorman and Twerdy last year. 

“She did not know what to do… It was mostly students who took theater last year trying to keep the class,” said Junior Andrew Hartless “It fell apart.”

This year, no theater class has been offered during the school day. The only option is an after school drama club. The teacher in charge of the club was fired this year; however, leaving students with no official theater department at RCHS. 

The RCHS theater department has been unable to find someone qualified to teach a theater class, but not for lack of trying. 

Another problem was class organization. Last year, all three levels of theater were combined into one big class, making it difficult for students to learn. Art classes like theater, require smaller class sizes allowing for more one-on-one time than other subjects. 

Budget cuts are causing the closure of theater programs nationwide. When a school’s funding decreases, it is forced to choose which programs to keep and to shut down. Theater, and other arts classes are not valued in the same way as other subjects, however.  According to the KM School for Arts and Performance, before nationwide budget cuts to school funding in 2008, 20% of schools had theater and dance programs. After the cuts, only 4% of schools had theater opportunities for students. 

The lack of a proper theater program at RCHS is a real loss; as art education has been shown to have a positive impact, both academically and socially, from reducing disciplinary infractions to improving test scores.

Theater also teaches students valuable life skills like good communication, creative thinking, and problem solving. 

“It taught me self confidence,” said Hartless, “I’m so much more comfortable speaking in front of people. It taught me so many life skills that I will use in the future.”