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The theater returns to Sevier Middle classrooms

Addison Perry, Staff Writer

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Drama is in the air at John Sevier Middle School. Angela Miller runs the show in Sevier’s new theater class, which many students attend.

“The administration asked me if I would teach a theater class since I had experience with the ‘Sevier on Stage’ program,” she said. “We were all hopeful that there would be lots of interest in a theater class from students with acting experience or students who want to try something new.”

Miller is also the chorus director at Sevier and is in her third year of co-directing the annual John Sevier play.

According to Miller, the students that are attending the class signed up by selecting “theater” as an option on the related arts preference survey.

There were a variety of reasons why many of the students decided to join the theater class.

“I decided to join because acting is sort of like a mini getaway from the real world,” Veronica Smalley, an eighth grade student, said. “I can be someone else.”

Others agreed with Smalley.

“I joined because it would be fun and I had a few friends in that class, too,” Caleb Baker, an eighth grade student, said.

The students, overall, just seem to enjoy acting. Miller feels that it is important to have a theater class at Sevier Middle School.

“Even if many students do not want to pursue acting as a career or hobby, my hope is that the theater class will help students be more comfortable speaking in front of others at the end of this class, a skill that is important in everyday life,” Miller said. “I believe that participation in theater can make a person more confident and assured of his or her own abilities. The class is also a great way for students to be individually creative.”

This year, students involved with the “Sevier on Stage” program will be performing in the play “Aladdin Jr”. Some students who participate in the acting class joined the play performance, yet others did not due to other academics and programs.

“I didn’t try out for the school play, because I had too many sports going on,” Baker said.

Many of the students have participated in plays outside of Sevier in the past, and Miller saw their acting potential.

“I tried out for the school play, because Mrs. Miller asked me to after seeing me act in the program,” Mia Treadway, an eighth grade student, said.

There are many aspects of the theater class that the students enjoy.

“One thing I like most about acting is leaving everyone on the edge of their seats or seeing someone become interested in it,” Smalley said.

“I like acting, because you get to be free and creative,” seventh grade student Latiana Vaughn said.

Students generally like what the theater class is like, and what they actually do in acting class.

“The class is interesting, because there is always a new thing every day,” Vaughn said. “In class, we get to go up and act.”

The students learn many skills, and do games and activities to help them learn the material.

“In class we practice acting skills and becoming immune to public speaking,” Treadway said. “We also play improv games.”

Smalley believe that there are many things they learn in acting class that they would not have learned in any other class.

“Acting class taught me how to be louder when speaking, and any other class would not have taught me how to do that,” she said.

Many of the students agree.

“I’ve learned that you need to stand at an angle so that everyone can see your face,” Treadway said.

“I learned social skills, and it helps talking to people and in front of others,” said Baker.

Miller also agrees that the acting class provides many potential lessons.

“Throughout the class students will be learning basics about stage acting, how to add expression and emotion to their speaking, and how to improvise on different topics,” she said. “All these skills will be beneficial to students who want to continue acting. Most of all though, I hope that students will feel more confident speaking in front of their peers, teachers, and others after their experience in theater class.”

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