The summer theatre experience for three students in Thespian Troupe 1826 at St. Cloud High School in Florida was A-MAZING! They went to the heart of the NYC theatre district and participated in workshops, Broadway shows, and made lifetime memories.

This adventure was made possible, in part, thanks to the fact that St. Cloud has two theatre teachers—Mr. Scott Schoonover and Mr. Alex Moore—focused on guiding students to create authentic portfolios about their theatre work and education. Here’s what the students told us about their participation in the Springboard to Design offered by the American Theatre Wing during the summer of 2022.

Summer Theatre Experience in NYC

Robyn Tindall (She/They)
Tindall is a Junior at St. Cloud High School and has been involved in theatre since her sophomore year.

The most surprising and useful lesson that I learned was that it is often best to avoid specializing as long as you can. To continue to generalize learning until you absolutely have to [choose a specialty]. This way you can learn about other things in life that you may enjoy. You can apply those other lessons to your craft.

students with adult in front of building

(l to r) Alejandra Duarte, David Zinn, Robyn Tindall, and Faith Gonzalez in NYC, Summer 2022

The most unexpected experience for me was being able to meet the absolutely wonderful Rachel Hauck and extraordinarily talented David Zinn. These two are people in the design world that I look up to the most. Meeting them was an extreme honor. I was also able to meet and learn about a bunch of new artists whose work I knew but not their names. Each of them just as inspiring as the last!

My view of technical theatre, and theatre overall has shifted. I have a better understanding and appreciation for the design process and the collaboration that happens both on stage and behind the curtain. It is truly beautiful.

My biggest realization is that no matter what there is a space for me. This [experience] has shown me that I don’t have to prove that I deserve my space. I deserve it because I am willing to use it.

Summer Theatre Experiences Packed With Surprises

Alejandra Duarte
Duarte (she/her) is a recent graduate of St. Cloud High School and recently designed The Diary of Anne Frank at SCHS.

The most surprising lesson was how different each designer’s path was. Some knew exactly what they wanted to do, went to college for it, and ended up where they are now. Some had no idea what they wanted to do and bounced from place to place until they found where they fit. Some thought they knew what they wanted only to end up doing something completely different. Some went to college, some did not. It is comforting to know you do not need to have everything perfectly planned out.

The most unexpected experience was creating the collages we did before arriving at the program. We were told to make a collage about The Wiz. The collage could be about anything from the show. Then on the first day we discussed our collages and I saw so many different interpretations. I had not considered so many options when making my collage.

students in front of NYC theatre marquee

(l to r) Alejandra Duarte and Faith Gonzales

Getting to participate in this program about technical theater inspired me to continue my own theater journey. I signed up for the program wondering if theater was really something I could do or keep in my life in some capacity. Hearing these designers’ stories, seeing their work on stage, and being a part of a group that loved theater as much as I do helps me know I can find a way to keep doing it. The experience makes me willing to take whatever opportunities comes my way to keep theatre in my life.

My favorite part was that the program covered different aspect of costuming in theatre. We learned about costume construction at Eric Winterling’s shop. Then we learned about costume design. Everyone in the program from the designers to the students were incredible to be around. I am glad I went.

Summer Theatre Experiences that Confirm Decisions

Faith Gonzalez
Gonzalez (she/her) is a recent graduate of St. Cloud High School. She received and a Dr. Phillips Applause Award for Costume Design for SpongeBob the Musical

The most surprising lesson, and one that impacted me greatly, was experiencing the rhythm of a room. How there is never truly silence and always some sort of flow in the way a person talks or the background noises that are often taken for granted. This rhythm can be used in theatre by causing a disruption and refocusing the viewers’ attention. This fascinated me because I never put much thought into the way what I hear affects me. Now I am very aware of the noises around me and how they contribute to the overall experience.

The most unexpected experience I had was attending the “Summer for the City” event held at the Lincoln Center. It was essentially one big disco dance party! It was such a fun experience. I got to dance with the wonderful people that were in the program with me. I also got to see spectacular lighting design in action!

This program really opened my eyes to the different sectors of technical theater. When I got there, I had a good understanding of costume design and very little knowledge about other areas of design. Now I know a lot more and understand the challenges in more areas. I am confident I’ll be pursuing costume design as a career.  ♦

Patty Craft is content manager for

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