Theater department welcomes new head, technical directors


Photo courtesy Grace Hellyer and Lisa Stucker

On June 10, the Coppell High School Cowboy Theatre Company announced Lisa Stucker and Grace Hellyer as the new head director and technical director for the 2022-23 school year. Stucker and Hellyer have worked together since 2018 at Grand Prairie High School, and take over the positions from previous head director and technical directors Karen Ruth and Brittany Young.

Saniya Koppikar, Entertainment Editor

The curtain opened on a new era for the Coppell High School theater department on June 10 as Lisa Stucker and Grace Hellyer were named head director and technical director for the 2022-23 school year. 

The pair take over the positions from previous head director Karen Ruth and technical director Brittany Young, who have been with the CHS theater department since 2018 and 2021, respectively. 

Stucker and Hellyer come to Coppell from Grand Prairie High School, where they have worked together since 2018. With an already established partnership in place and guidance through the transition from the theater department’s previous directors, they are bringing experience and excitement to CHS theater students in the coming school year. 

“It’s going to be great, having such a big department,” Stucker said. “At Grand Prairie, there weren’t as many kids. As Mrs. Ruth was going over the numbers with me, it got me thinking about what it’s going to be like to work with such a large group of passionate and motivated kids. I’m so excited to get to know them all and see where their strengths lie.”

While Stucker’s background in theater began when she was a teenager at Grapevine High School, her passion for the art lies in what she found in it years later. 

In her own high school theater department, Stucker struggled with being confident on stage. She continued with theater at Baylor University due to her love of performing, but left the field after graduating. Years later, Stucker was approached about potential teaching positions, and after getting involved, found herself attached to the field once again. This time, for a different reason.

 “I had great teachers when I was a student, but I didn’t have any teachers that realized my lack of confidence and really pushed me,” Stucker said. “I realized when I started teaching that I could be that person for my students. That’s what keeps me in this field. Seeing the difference in a student in their freshman year and as they graduate, that’s where my heart is.”

Hellyer’s background in theater started with dance lessons at age 3. She began performing in plays in elementary school, then transitioned to technical theater in high school at Brentwood Christian School in Austin. After graduating, she attended West Texas A&M University to major in theater education. 

“Ultimately, I have a deep love for theater because it’s really a combination of every skill and subject,” Hellyer said. “It can reach anyone, it’s the best form of storytelling. I love being able to create art that’s not just something you read or look at, but something you have to experience comprehensively.”

The duo’s main goal is a well-rounded theater education. In addition to building technical skills, Stucker and Hellyer want students to understand what opportunities in the field look like after high school. 

“There’s so much you can do,” Stucker said. “There’s going to college and pursuing a degree, and there’s also starting to perform or working as a technician. We would like to build a community of students that continue to pursue their love of art, no matter what that pursuit looks like. There’s a lot we can do to make sure we’re graduating kids who appreciate what the art of theater is as a whole.”

Follow Saniya Koppikar (@SaniyaKoppikar) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.