Though more changes will be enacted next year, senior Kendall said that some have already begun to come to fruition.
“One of the major changes is that we now have three teachers—Mrs. Hubbard, Mr. Blaydes, and Mr. Kallos—as opposed to having only one,” Kendall said.
On top of this, “Mr. Kallos’ technical theater class has been combined with the advanced acting class to make an even bigger acting company,” Kendall said.
With the growth of size in the class, there are two separate one acts in the making at the same time rather than just one. “Belongings,” the one act directed by Upper School drama teacher Rob Blaydes, will be performed by one half of the class while “Steel Magnolias,” the one act directed by drama teacher Susan Hubbard, will be performed by the other half.
Looking into the future, Hockaday will be building a new Fine Arts facility. This is one of the driving forces behind the changes in the program. Hockaday wants to “have a restructured curriculum to go with the new spaces,” Kendall said.
“Where will we be in ten years?” The acting teachers had to answer this daunting question. Their response was to move forward in an “evolutionary process” said Kallos.
This will include staging more major productions, more space for these shows and a better black box. With these changes, the acting program hopes to become more prevalent in the lives of Hockadaisies. Students “would like to perform for the Upper School regularly” and become “more well-known,” Kendall said. In order to achieve this, they will do one acts “after school so the Upper School and parents can see them if they would like,” junior Nguhi said.
“At the end of this year, we plan to hold auditions for the class next year,” Nguhi said. These are not to cut anyone that’s not “good enough” but just to see what level next year’s class will be at. Kallos said that this is to allow the “girls to influence the program by bringing in their own talents and own thoughts.” Blaydes added that their class is “all about the company approach. What do the kids have to offer?”
By forming a company that works cooperatively with other aspects of the school, the Hockaday Theater Company hopes to “become more accessible” to students said Blaydes. The company “takes a group of girls—technicians, actors—and forms a group to do productions that hopefully draw in the curriculum of other disciplines—English, history, science even,” said Kallos.
Furthermore, the changes they are incorporating are in hope of “creating a home for all theater people…dance and choir are so integrated into Hockaday…we want a production company that will meet during the day and perform after school,” said Hubbard. This way, the people who don’t have time after school—like athletes—could join the program. Blaydes expressed excitement about this saying that the program will become “classroom oriented.”
The course will become “even more interesting and exciting for both the students and the teachers,” said Kallos. With these positive changes, the Hockaday Theater Company will benefit through its growth in size, creativity and variety in acting expertise.