Theater Off The Square: A Welcoming Place for WHS Students | Dirk Green, Staff Writer

Many students interested in the theatre arts find it difficult to find places to express their passion for things like acting, doing tech, or learning to direct.  Even with the high school theatre options, spring and fall shows, and production, sometimes it feels like it's not enough. Many students wanting to find theatre offerings outside of school have a hard time doing so with things like age restrictions and plays where youthful characters are scarce Theatre Off The Square (TOTS) is entirely welcoming to everyone willing to join. It is also surprising to know that TOTS is frequently acted at the theatre by quite a few teachers of the Weatherford school district. Mrs. Justice, who was a previous teacher here at WHS has acted and served as part of the board. She directs many of the plays at TOTS, including one being currently rehearsed called “The Book of Dog,” which will be playing every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through May 14. At TOTS, they have an abundance of actors who are not only from WHS and Shirley Hall Middle School, but also some of the elementary schools for their plays and musicals. TOTS even has an annual play for only actors under 18, for the younger actors to grow and learn from for the future, and a student internship program. “I think that it gives y’all more experience,” she said when asked how TOTS affects the students who join. “It’s experience outside of the high school theatre department. A lot of times it's easy to get like pigeonholed into a specific type of role or specific tech position. So here it’s a bit easier to explore some of the different things.” When asked how they felt about the theatre, the younger actors all answered positively. One of WHS’s students, Lohi Ejere, said: “I think TOTS serves as a great opportunity for students to have the chance to participate in theatre activities outside of school.” “Professional and community theatres are often a completely different environment than public school programs, so TOTS is a great entrance into what theatre as a hobby or career may look like in the future.” TOTS gives students of all ages a chance to ease into theatre and prosper from the experience they get.

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