This class has more drama than most

In This Class – Theatre


Photo by Barry Weatherall on Unsplash

What side of the curtain do you want to be on?

Because Ms. Sheena Beeson is willing to lead the Armijo Theatre Productions club, the school has two major productions a year as well as several other fun activities.

Ms. Beeson is both a drama teacher and a dance teacher. Not only does she serve as the adviser for the Theatre club, but she also spends her day teaching students. In her Theater 1 class, they do all types of theater, performing, backstage stuff, theater history, improv. It’s a basic introduction to a lot of parts of theater.

Her Advanced Theater class is more performance-based. The students get to be more involved in acting, directing, and production.

Next year, Ms. Beeson is also planning to add a Technical Design class for theater, which will be a lot more into the backstage stuff.

Ms. Beeson described a typical day in her theater class as “organized chaos”. The students start the day with warm-ups which include tongue twisters, group focusing exercises, games, and more. They do them as a group in a circle. The rest of the class period, they do individual or group projects. The class is very self-guided; Ms. Beeson tells them what they should be working on that day and they do it.

For the last nine years, Ms. Beeson has been teaching a variety of talented students. She uses acting methods such as the Uta Hagan Method which encourages actors to avoid over-intellectualizing their processes and instead root themselves in rigorous observation of daily life. She also uses the Lee Strasberg Method which requires actors to go beyond emotional memory and use a technique called “Substitution” to temporarily become the characters they are portraying.

Her main method, however, is just to meet students where they are and guide them to self-improvement. “It’s not about being the best actor in the class or the best theater artist in the class. It’s just about improving yourself over the course of the school year,” Ms. Beeson said.

Theatre has always been her passion and she has been performing since she was three years old. She had an amazing theater teacher when she was in high school, which inspired her to teach. She also wanted theater to be a part of her life while having a stable job.

Theatre is a fine art for A-G requirements as well as an elective for general requirements. Students can take theater all four years of high school since there are multiple levels. Students who aspire to be involved in theater have the opportunity to do just that and, for some, perhaps stardom is just around the corner.