West Ranch Shoots for the Stars The West Ranch Theatre Arts Department Prepares for it’s latest production, “Peter and the Starcatcher”
“When I was a boy, I wished I could fly.” This is the opening line of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” West Ranch High’s upcoming theatre production. The West Ranch Theatre Arts department has been hard at work bringing the origin story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and more since January.
The Theatre Arts program began in 2005, the same year that the West Ranch campus opened. Originally staging their plays and musicals in a classroom, the department eventually moved its productions to the school theatre after it was completed in 2009. The program now stages four main stage plays a year, with 50 to 60 students involved at any given time, either as actors or stagecraft members. Since its first production, the program has put on numerous musicals, student-written plays and much more, aimed at both families and older audiences.
But for all of its growth and progress, the greatest part of the program has been there since its inception: Chris Cook, the founder and director. Fueled by his desire to foster talent in the young people who come through his program, Chris has headed up the theatre department for the past sixteen and a half years. “Many students may not even know how talented they are until they have the opportunity to be on stage, and to sing and act and dance. And they develop these skills over the years,” Chris said.
Dozens of students have come into the program over the years to learn how to act, sing and dance as an actor, and learn the lighting, sounds, set construction and stage management of theatre in the stagecraft program.
“Everyone gets to have their chance in the spotlight,” said Gloria, a senior in high school who’s playing Black Stash (better known as Captain Hook) in the upcoming production, “You learn how backstage works, you get to learn how ensemble works, you get to learn how the lead prepares.”
But while the students pick up plenty of skills relating to theatre, they also learn much more.
“I have suffered with the worst anxiety, and theatre in general has just helped me become more open and helped me talk to people,” said Hila, who’s been in the program for four years and is playing the star catcher, “I feel so at home on stage, and being able to tell the stories of other people is just so exciting for me.”
And she’s not the only one. Countless other students have grown in confidence and maturity through the theatre program. And hopefully, so will countless more.
The West Ranch High School Theatre Arts program is performing “Peter and the Starcatcher” on May 4 through May 6 at 7 p.m. at the West Ranch theatre. West Ranch High School is located on 26255 W. Valencia Blvd.
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