Student Run Production Offers Something New

Lucy Knudsen, News Writer

The Student Run Production is a fairly new custom at Friends. Although several Friends students can still remember the first production, the tradition has become one that the community looks forward to every year. It is a great opportunity for students to apply what they have learned in past faculty-run productions into their own show in order to pursue their own vision.

Hannah Blackwell ’20 acted in last year’s production of Making a Manhorse. She played the role of Sally, the love interest of Wiley. She commented about the experience, “The Student Run Production last year was really fun. It was cool to see my peers’ visions come to life. It was definitely a different and enjoyable experience”. It was her first time doing the Student Run Production and looks forward to seeing the tradition continued throughout her years at Friends. Hannah believes that the Student Run Production is not only important, but fun!

Sarah Gooderham ’17 was also in last year’s production. She had a great time playing one of the townspeople. Sarah remarked: “I joined the Student Run Production because I had never been in a non-musical theatre production, and I wanted to try it out without the stress and pressure of being in the play. Also, the low time commitment was a big factor in my decision to join.” Sarah realized the massive amount of work required in the production of a full length play, such as the annual Upper School Drama, especially with the added pressure of high school. This is one of the reasons why the Student Run Production is so special. Sarah continued, “One thing about the Student Run Production that was different than a musical was that everyone in the cast was also stage crew and also responsible for makeup and costumes (not to say the amazing director, Leah Johnson, was not primarily responsible for all that). With the Student Run Production, it’s just the cast and director(s), so everything is up to the students.” Sarah points out how this production is different from the other plays at Friends, and offers more opportunities for students to take leadership roles.

Todd Tyler has been the faculty advisor of the Student Run Production since it re-commenced with Wyatt Thompson’s production of Three on a Bench.  He remarked on how the tradition began: “It started because someone wanted to do it. I had offered it in the past, but a few years ago a student stepped up. Students often asked for another outlet to perform, and the Student Run Production provided that”. Mr. Tyler sees that the production as a great way for students to practice and develop their acting and directing skills. Furthermore, Mr. Tyler spoke on how the tradition is handed down: “It started off small. The first play had only four students, but it has grown since then. The first year, it was Wyatt. His assistant director was Joslyn. Joslyn directed it the next year with Emily as her assistant. Leah is directing it now. So you can see that it really has been passed down from student to student.” This shows that the Student Run Production is something that the participants take pride in, and teach/learn from each other.

The Student Run Production is an important part of the Friends community for several reasons.  It is fun to act in and practical for busy students. More importantly, it is a great way for students to hone their skills, and make a production their own. This combination of fun and responsibility is what causes the students to take such pride in the production they put on, and it really shows. If this year’s production of An Artful Theft is anything like the past productions, it will be a massive success!