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Overland Trail students create, collaborate

All the world (and Overland Trail) is a stage 

Live theater brings stories to life by transporting the audience, actors, and stage crew to a place that allows them to escape the real-world for a short period of time. No matter the role one plays in the production, many life lessons are learned from being a part of a live theater experience. student actors in costume as the cowardly lion and the tin man

At Overland Trail Middle, 30 drama club students recently performed The Wizard of Oz. Drama club, run by Dominic Rossi, Rachel Baldwin, Leslie Burgoyne, and Kim Charles Smith, provides a safe space for any Overland Trail student to explore their creativity and collaboration skills, whether on stage or behind the scenes. 

Being an active part of the creative process allows students to explore their creativity and the emotional process of getting into character. “This opportunity allows me to  express myself in many ways. There is sadness, happiness, and anger all involved in one production. The drama club gives me a safe space to express these feelings,” said 7th grader stage crew member, Isaiah Daniel. 

Teacher and advisor Dominic Rossi reflects on the student experience. “We realize that it is middle school and that it is not going to be perfect. We don’t expect a professional quality production. What we expect is that they are here, invested, and engaged. Even kids who struggle in the classroom come here and do an amazing job because they are passionate about it, and I think that’s what sets us apart.” students paint a yellow brick road backdrop

This passion is not only seen in the students and teachers involved in this club, but also in their audience. The community comes together yearly for each production. This year, Eng Orthodontics awarded the school with a $500 grant to be used towards costumes, spotlights, a fog machine, and set pieces. After buying the sets, family members and students came together and helped build frames for the sets and set up reusable photo studio quality backdrops. For everything else, students, families, and teachers came together to create or buy whatever was needed. 

Drama clubs help students grow and improve in a wide range of areas, such as self-confidence, self-esteem, self-expression, communication, collaboration, interpersonal skills, aesthetic awareness and, last but not least, imagination. We cannot think of a more imaginative place then the Land of Oz.