Theater department welcomes various changes with open arms


Claire Clements

Coppell High School theater director Karen Ruth watches as three students perform a part of a Greek tragedy. Ruth, along with many new theater directors, are bringing several changes to the theater department this year.

Claire Clements, Editorial Page Editor

As progressive movements such as the #MeToo and March for Our Lives movements occurring across the United States, new Coppell High School theater director Karen Ruth likewise plans on taking the department in a more progressive direction.


Ruth decided to make this step towards more progressive shows because teenagers relate more to the plays revolving around their issues.


“[We are] exploring some different challenges that young actors have in their personal life and things that might relate more to teenagers and the issues that they face in real life, as opposed to something that’s glossed over or easy,” Ruth said.


Along with the theater staff, many students are looking forward to the coming year.


“We’re really pushing the line of what’s allowed in school and what isn’t, because it has been very limited,”  CHS junior lighting operator Fran Jaubert said. “I am looking forward to [the change]. I worked with our past directors and I liked what they did, but now, the directors’ style is something I like even more and I’m really excited to be working with them.”


Along with the step towards more progressive plays, the theater leadership team has significantly changed, with Ruth and new tech director Les Thomas.


“We want the standard program to be more inclusive,” Thomas said. “We want to make it more fun and we want to keep lines of communication open between faculty and students, and students and students.”


With three theater directors departing from CHS last year, some might see a completely new leadership team as a challenge, but Ruth chooses to take a more optimistic point of view.


“[Having] new theater teachers [is something] I don’t see as a challenge,” Ruth said. “I see it as a great opportunity, because we’re all coming in fresh, and we have fresh ideas, and we have the great chance to have a fresh start and make this department what we want it to be together, both for the students and teachers.”


In addition to the fall musical, “All Shook Up”, the theater will be performing a full-length play in the winter and a UIL One-Act Play.


“I am very excited for the UIL show,” Ruth said. “I’m very competitive and love to compete.”


One of the biggest changes coming to the department, however, happened by accident.


In the past, auditions have been run separately, so that the choreography teacher was in charge of dance auditions, the director in charge of acting auditions and so on. However, due to the choreography teacher being unable to attend the original day they had planned, they decided to run auditions all together on two days.


“This way we’re getting to see all of it, and it worked really well to help us cast,” Ruth said. “Especially since, coming in as a director, I don’t know these students very well right now, it really helps me to see a much more well-rounded version of them to make the best choice that I can for casting.”


Regardless of whether these changes benefit the department, the theater students and staff have greatly enjoyed them so far.

“We’ve had so much fun getting to know the students and getting to learn the processes here, and starting to add our own flavor on top,” Ruth said. “It’s so fun to get to do what we want to do, how we want to do it.”