The Drama department will be busy this summer, if all goes as planned. Andy Long, drama director, has scheduled refresher classes in June and July for middle and high school drama teachers. He got the idea from his wife, Kristi, who teaches drama at the Episcopal School of Dallas. She was looking for local refresher classes in stage scenery and lighting.
“I researched it, and those classes don’t exist anywhere in the country,” Long said. He told his wife, “We should put something like that together.”
As a result, the Drama department is offering a one-week class in June for high school and middle school drama teachers on scenery and shop safety. Also in June, there will be a one-week class on the basics of lighting. In July, the department will offer classes on costumes, makeup and an introduction on designing sets, using items high school and middle school teachers might have at their schools.
Long said he worked through the Continuing Education program last fall and advertised them online and social media. Long said they opened registration in early April and several of the classes are already half full. He had drama teachers from Florida, Wisconsin and California ask how they can offer short refresher courses in their states.
Long said he’s had requests to livestream the classes and said he wants to test it locally first and see how it goes. The classes may be posted online later.
Long said the department will also be going through a lot of renovations over the Christmas break and summer, 2019.
“We’re going to be hitting close to the $2 million mark with the upcoming renovations,” he said. The Green Room and dressing room are among the areas to be renovated.
“We’re installing a camera system with monitors so that not only in the lobby, but in the green room people will be able to see what’s happening onstage and in the Performance Hall and Arena Theaters,” he said. The house lights in the Performance Hall will be converted to LED so they’re energy efficient.
“This building was built in 1974 and we have pretty much maxed it out,” Long said. He hopes Richland can host the state level of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) this fall, but at press time, he has not received final approval. If the Drama department receives final approval, then Richland will have eight or nine schools participating in competitions. The anticipated date for the festival is Oct. 24-28, with two shows a day. The KCACTF covers Region 6, which is Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Texas.