July 5, 2014 at 8:14 am #159826Log in to see author
Many students and community members want to Bring Back RB Theatre: It’s Time To Act. The students wore campaign t-shirts and marched in the 4th of July parade because they believe a strong theatre arts program belongs at RBHS.
RB has a rich theatre history but it has declined in recent years. Compared with other high schools in the area, RB falls at the very bottom of the heap. Others offer multiple productions each year. Meanwhile, there is a lot of evidence about how high school theatre leads to academic achievement, student engagement and a diverse range of careers.
While other programs, such as athletics, are retained at RB, the quality and quantity of theatre arts programming is down to no plays and a musical every other year. This year’s class will graduate without a single high school play! To provide students with a well-rounded education and the co-curricular opportunities they deserve, RB should – at the minimum — produce published plays and full-fledged Broadway musicals every year, led by educators with theatre training.
On Tuesday at the Board of Education meeting, the community will ask the Board to address this unbalanced situation and dedicate an appropriate budget for theatre at RB. Otherwise, this year’s class of 2015 will be the first to graduate without ever having experienced one single, solitary high school play.
Show your support July 8th at the meeting at RB in the Alumi Lounge at 7pm. Speak up! Send the BOE your feelings in an email “https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1iNmmmi5zkWbFcdBORxE0qY69Umn7klgaUwGByv_sZaU/viewform”>email. Discuss your thoughts here with others in the community.
Theatre arts help all kinds of students achieve success in school, work and life. Let’s bring it back!
July 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm #159835Log in to see author
As a parent of former RBHS students involved in theater, it is very disappointing to read about the essentially nonexistent theater program. Theater was my children’s “Sport”. The fellow participants were my children’s “Teammates”. Dozens and dozens of all kinds of kids joined together to put on a great show. Most of these kids weren’t athletes and this was their way of getting involved in high school. There were the students who worked on lighting , props, filming, pit orchestra, set design, dancers, singers, actors, make up, ticket sales, etc. The participation rate especially for the musical is quite high. The performances make RB more appealing to potential incoming students. The theater program enhances the high school experience for all involved. I hope current and future RB students would have the same enriching experience that my children had during their high school years. I encourage the board to take another look at how funds are allocated and consider the impact of the loss of “the sport of theater” on RBHS. Colleen Toriumi
July 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm #159986Log in to see author
Hello! I just wanted to share that I am sending this email to the BOE today:
I’m writing this email to express my extreme support of continuing the high-quality theater education at Riverside Brookfield High School. It has come to my attention that after a long history of full theatrical productions, this could be the first year that the school will not produce a play due to budget constraints.
While I live in this school district, I am not yet a parent. However, one of the most enticing things about Brookfield was its clear support of the arts- with RBHS being one of the main indicators. As a musician and a long time stage performer, I have first hand knowledge of the profound impact that arts education and performance opportunities have had on my life.
The theatrical department at RBHS is not only good for the students, but it is also a wonderful addition to our community. I ask that you reevaluate the importance of the arts education at RBHS, and allow for these students to experience the rich theatrical opportunities that decades of alumni have benefited from and enjoyed.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
July 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm #159984Log in to see author
Yes, definitely. I participated in theater when I was in high school many years ago at another school though. I truly believe it should be continued.
July 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm #159992Log in to see author
Good to hear the community support! RBHS cut all drama around 2011 after the education referendum failed. They have since added musicals back into the program — although with a more limited budget — and yet there have been NO PLAYS. This graduating class of 2015 will graduate without a single play if the Board does not reinstate drama. At the July 8th BOE meeting at RBHS we will ask the Board to Bring Back RBHS Theatre and it sounds like we have the school administration’s support! Come to the meeting and express yourself!
July 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm #159993Log in to see author
As the parents of a 2014 RB graduate, I must express our dissatisfaction in the paucity of performing arts opportunities at the school. At Hauser Junior High, our daughter had participated in annual dramas such as Casablanca and Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and yearly musicals such as Peter Pan and the Music Man. What a disappointment when she started at RB and soon discovered that the RB Board slashed ALL the plays and budgeted for a full musical only every other year!
Other high schools offer students many theater opportunities. My niece at Morton West has had a very rich experience participating in many annual musicals and dramas. She has performed in Cabaret and Legally Blond, as well as helped write and direct several student productions.
In the past, RB has performed some amazing musical and dramatic productions which have not only enriched the lives of the actors on the stage, musicians in the pit orchestra, and the behind- the- scenes crew, but also the whole community who can come together to enjoy the talent and creativity of our young people. Yes, I agree Bring Back RBHS Theatre. Sharon & Mike Tomecek
July 8, 2014 at 10:40 am #160085Log in to see author
I find it shocking that we pay such high property taxes, yet have a high school with no real theater department, especially when they have such a beautiful facility to perform in. I’ve been running a Children’s Theater Program in Riverside since 1996, and one thing I know is that theater doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If the teacher’s union would allow it, there are plenty of talented young people who would love to come in and direct a play for minimum pay, but the school system is buried under their rules and regulations. Here’s what will happen if the powers that be don’t smarten up: the best and the brightest will choose to go to Fenwick or Nazareth, where they aren’t encumbered by unions. I’m already putting aside money for my grandchildren.
July 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm #160092Log in to see author
Jeanne, you know I really appreciate what you do. I will always be grateful for you and Darel stepping up to stage Li’l Abner after the referendum failed and the original cuts were made. I have to say, though, that I think with the last round of negotiations, there really aren’t any prohibitions, like their previously were, on who can direct the plays. Teachers may still get first crack at the spot, but if they aren’t interested, the school can hire someone else. The problem may lie in the fact that stipends were reduced, and the school may have put some other requirements (coaching certifications, for example) on any position working with the kids. That’s not the fault of the teachers, either individually or as a union. The teachers’ union is not the enemy here. Allocation of funds is a joint effort of the administration and the board of education, neither of which falls under the jurisdiction of any union.
July 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm #160093Log in to see author
We heard good news from Dr. Skinkis that the new contract now allows for unlimited volunteers and they don’t need special certification. Also, the stipends are up there in line with the other schools in the area – the going rates. RB posted for a director last year and didn’t have luck. Qualified teachers do have first crack. But RBHS is also interested in hiring teachers who have theatre education to fill positions. They encouraged us to spread the word. RBHS has great kids and wonderful teachers already so let’s get some passionate theatre educators and leaders in to build a department. Talented directors come forth! I know my child’s life was changed by stage managing with Darel when he came into RB to do The Good Doctor (last play they did) and then the wonderful opportunity for Li’l Abner as well!
July 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm #160100Log in to see author
I didn’t realize the new teachers’ contract made changes to the theater staffing requirements. This is definitely good news for the future of RB Theater. I am generally a union supporter, but it just didn’t seem right that the contract would interfere with the school’s ability to have plays and musicals.
July 9, 2014 at 8:32 pm #160113Log in to see author
At the Board of Ed meeting last night, we gave a presentation asking them to bring back theatre at RBHS and the students and parents gave heartfelt public comments. Dr. Skinkis said he will support bringing back the Fall Play but that it will take time to build a theatre department. They are reluctant to dedicate a budget to give musicals the funding necessary to produce the quality of musicals that have been done in the past. The budget will be finalized this fall. If you’d like more facts and information, please see the document now available in the Resource section under Schools (bottom right sidebar of home page). What do you think?
July 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm #160116Log in to see author
Presentation by Sheila was awesome! The other parents and students also spoke beautifully and each made a different point. Glad to hear that the Fall Play will be back but I do want to see more development of the Theater Department and an assurance of a Spring Musical yearly. Sheila made some great points and did her homework for that “research based” presentation! Not super familiar with this site yet and can’t find document. Help please! Pleased to be a part of this group and hope to do more in the future.
July 10, 2014 at 11:13 am #160123Log in to see author
While we have been out of town recently, I just want to personally thank Sheila and everyone else who has fought on behalf of all thespians in our town! I, too believe theatre is an art that needs to stay at RB in its fullest capacity. I can attest to the memories and great experiences I had as a stage manager in college as well as supporting my daughter, who will be a Freshman to pursue theatre.
The Splitt Family fully supports your endeavors and we are here if you need us.
Nina and Jon Splitt
July 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm #161170Log in to see author
There are a lot more theatre supporters around than I thought! Many are thanking the group for calling attention to the need for more theatre at RBHS. A woman who graduated RB in the 1930s called to offer support and encouragement and to tell of her great experience in RB theatre way back in the day and that she believes it’s a time to explore your talents. She also told me she remembers the special relationship she had with fellow actors on stage and that it was fun and satisfying. Even though it sounds like the Fall Play MAY go back in the budget, it’s not a sure thing and this is still a small program compared to the past and compared to other activities like all the sports still running at the school. Please speak up if you believe theatre arts education is important for students. Post on this site, write to the Landmark, send the Board an email, talk to your neighbors. Now is a good time to let your opinions be known.
July 22, 2014 at 10:52 am #161670Log in to see author
Parents, please join PTO at RBHS when registering. All school groups can get support and a means for communication through our PTO. We hope to get a theatre committee formed to help out on shows in many capacities and for fundraising. Also talking about organizing a way to reach RB alumni who want to help theatre thrive once again!
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