Drama students excited for black-wall transformation

Published 6:04 am Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Boyle County High School

How do you take a basic white-wall classroom and turn it into something amazing? Well, Boyle County’s Thespian Society has come up with an idea.

Email newsletter signup

A very large room, once designated as a computer lab and later used as a presentation and drama practice space, is currently undergoing significant changes. Innovator Dr. Frieda Gebert, Boyle’s drama teacher and sponsor of the Thespian Society, has been working weeks on this exciting project.

“We are turning room 143 into a black box theater. A black box is simply what it sounds like: an empty room that’s been painted black that you can put chairs into different configurations.”

All four walls are being painted black and risers are being inserted for an audience, still leaving plenty of space for presenters and future cast members of upcoming productions. The possibilities of how this room could be used once renovations are complete are endless.

Last spring, students of the drama department applied for a grant that they unexpectedly won.

Obviously, Gebert was elated. “It was associated with the NBC television network, revolving around their show ‘Rise.’ In conjunction with the Educational Theatre Association, they gave a $10,000 grant to one school in each state.

“It was a pretty complicated application process, but we won it for the state of Kentucky. Our kids made a film — it was really a lot of work on their part, too, so they were really invested in it.” “Drama needed a home at Boyle County High School. We needed a place to grow, so when we got the grant last year, that’s one of the things I wanted to use part of the money for,” Gebert said. She believes the room will give the kids who love drama a place to gravitate and a place to call ‘home’. She also believes that having the theater creates a better teaching environment and practice space for students.

Junior Alyssa Wray, vice president of the Thespian Society, is excited about the project but mentioned several obstacles to overcome, including finding time after school hours to work.

“There are a lot of students who are involved in things like sports and other activities in school,” which makes it difficult for club members to quickly complete the project.

However, overcoming all of the hardships will be well worth it. “I think this will help a lot of students feel like they’re a part of a theater program, and not just a class. Being in a space like the black box theater really helps you develop your character and it brings the show to life. It’s a workspace that we can feel like it’s ours and not just another classroom.”

Senior Ian Burney, Thespian Society president, is glad that future drama students will have a space to call their own. “I’m not going to get to use it much since I’m a senior, but I’m glad that years after I’m gone, people are going to have a place to perform, since our stage is in the gym (currently) and we don’t really get to use it.

“I think this might influence some people to get involved, seeing that we have a theater in the classroom. Because right now, kids don’t really know about it all that much besides the ones who were involved in middle school or who’s families encouraged them to try theater.”

As Gebert had hoped for, both the school’s theater department and the Thespian Society are getting a home of their own, a place for their participants to grow and for the groups to expand. All it took was a few cans of paint and the determination of passionate students to turn a simple white-wall classroom into something amazing.