Work parties help students learn important skills while showing their support for the arts

From the roar of drills mixing with the sound of large set pieces being maneuvered into place, to the smell of paint and sawdust filling the air of the Black Box, it is apparent that a work party is officially underway for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the fall theater production.

The set is built and put together during these work parties, which are held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. in the scene shop. The play is being held in the Black Box, so a large slanted stage now occupies the space.
Work parties are a way for student volunteers to help put together the sets for the plays and musicals.

Colt Christa, senior, went because it was mandatory for her technical theater class. “I didn’t realize it was so much work, but I had a good time,” Christa said.

Tasks that the students are given require little to no experience. This includes drilling, cutting, measuring and painting, and allows them to use tools they wouldn’t normally use in their everyday lives.

“A lot of kids don’t get much opportunity to do woodworking, or use power tools at home, and in many ways, building scenery in the scene shop is the closest thing to a wood shop class here at school,” Jon Ares, technical coordinator for the performing arts building, said.

Students who aren’t necessarily involved in theater can still contribute and get a lot out of the backstage scene, according to Ares. “Students that love computers and technology really get into the lighting and sound equipment we have,” Ares said.

The work parties are located in the scene shop of the theater building throughout the year, and anyone is welcome to check it out. Visit for more information.