There’s something special and magical about being able to go on stage and do something so profound and heartfelt that you are able to convey thoughts and emotions to an entire audience of people. Acting is no easy feat, and DSHS is proud to host such an committed and talented theatre department.

Year after year they produce and choreograph plays and musicals to entertain the community and student body, and after all of last year’s hard work, they were congratulated with 15 award nominations at the 2016-17 Greater Austin High School Musical Theater Awards at the Long Center. This year, we hope to see them grow and prosper as well, and according to theatre director Rachael Koske, there are  a lot of new and exciting productions to look forward to.

“Our students have proven that they can handle anything, and this year’s show is a big departure from the past many years where we have been primarily working with classical music sound- now we jump into pop musical territory,” Koske said. “And we’re excited to see what they do with that.”

Finding new ways to bring a rush of excitement to shows is never an easy task, and this year Koske and her fellow theatre directors have decided to produce Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing!, one of his most popular comedies.

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Much Ado About Nothing rehearsals

“We are taking this opportunity to get the audience really close to the action by building a temporary audience space on the stage,” Koske said. “This won’t be a typical audience experience in our performing arts center.”

They also plan to produce The Addams Family Musical, a pop musical based off of the TV show and the original New Yorker cartoons,  this January.

“It will be a lot of fun, and we are looking to bring some new faces into the ensemble,” Koske said. “We need tall people, short people, athletes, dancers- everyone- to play Addams Family ancestors.”

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The Addams Family musical theater preview during the pink out pep rally.

Another exciting change for the theatre is a Black Box Studio series, something that has never been done before.

“It’s a smaller stage, small audience, and we’ll be using the Black Box as a true flex theatre space,” Koske said. “Those shows will be student-designed and each will have a student directing team working along with us to craft the productions.”

Once a show is created and perfected for the audience, it’s hard for us to imagine what the choreography and stage looked like before all the brainstorming was finished, something that Koske said is one of her favorite parts.

“The beginning of every production process is thrilling because we start with that empty box of a theatre,” she said. “And our job is to fill it with fury, with passion, with joy, with love, with tears.”

One of the things that makes theatre so special is its flexibility; each year, it has a different style, different designs, different casts, tons of different things that affect and change the atmosphere of the performances and the entire theatre.

“We aren’t looking to replicate anything- that’s not what theatre is about. Everything happens once in theatre- and then it’s gone- so our goals are to tell a story and create an amazing experience for the audience and the student company,” Koske said. “If we get awarded for that with nominations and awards, that’s great and that feels wonderful, but the real thing we are looking for is a room full of people, sharing the journey we’ve created and leaving the theatre having been impacted or changed in some way.”

Written by Jade Berry, Entertainment & News Editor