Stevenson High School’s Troupe 33 theater program placed third in the state at the 2020-2021 Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association competition with their performance of Tracks by Peter Tarsi.
Troupe 33 does five performances a year, two of which are competitions. The program is led by Cheryl Jackson, drama teacher, and by its student board. For the 2020-2021 school year, the president is Sophia Yabut ’21, vice president is Mareo Butrus ’21, the members at large are Valentina Youssif ’21 and Bobby Yaxley ’21, and the junior officer is Jazmin Graddy ’22.
In May, there will be a “Night of Entertainment” which will feature members of the theater, band and choir programs.
“What makes me most proud about theater is seeing how much everyone in theater has grown and changed because of it,” Youssif said. “The days where people watch our show and love it and we know that all the hard work we put in was all worth it. I have a lot of theater memories, but my favorite are the rehearsals after school every day. We would have so much fun with the troupe messing around, but still getting our work done and getting to know each other. I also love the rush I feel on show days. Knowing that all the hard work we put in was all worth it and people can finally enjoy everything that we put into the show.”
Drama classes provide a place where students can grow and thrive.
“Theatre helps students gain confidence and poise, along with learning to tell a story using a team approach,” Cheryl Jackson, drama teacher, said. “They learn lifelong interpersonal communication skills, technical skills if they work on the tech teams, and gain a sense of belonging with people who enjoy the same thing that they are passionate about. COVID hit us pretty hard – we had to go full virtual with all of our shows except the current one – and we have had a lot of challenges. Recruiting and re-building is our next challege, as we have an uphill road to keep our program growing and strong. These students have persevered during a time like no others and created theatre when many schools threw up their hands and just gave up. They worked through the difficulties, learned computer programs to edit our Fall show, used creativity to solve problems, and actually place in all three of the MIFA competitions – 1st place in Districts, 2nd place at Regionals and 3rd place at States. I am extremely proud of these students for all of their determination to have this year’s theatre happen, no matter the pandemic’s limitations.”
Theater provides a judgement free zone for students to explore their interests and personalities.
“Theater has made me a more social and open-minded person,” Yabut, said. “I used to be pretty shy, but now I am more open to talking to new people and learning new ideas. What makes me most proud about theater is all the teamwork that goes into it, and how the hard work and effort from everyone all matters when making a show. If someone is considering joining theater, I would say join it for sure. It is a great environment to make friends during high school and a way to put yourself out there. You can learn a lot of new things about yourself and see how far your potential and talent can reach. There is something for everyone to do, like act, do tech or both. The possibilities are endless.”