So your son or daughter is into theatre . . .
What does that mean for you, the parent?
First and foremost, you're in for a great adventure. Theatre is a wonderful creative outlet for your child, and it's a great opportunity for you to see him or her in a completely new light. Here are a few of the things that other parents have shared over the years.
If you still have questions, send us an email, and we'll do our best to get you an answer quickly.
How many productions are there each year?
There are three main stage productions each year—one in the fall and two in the spring. There are also a student-directed children’s theatre production in the winter and a senior drama student Shakespearean production in the spring.
My child is interested in theatre and in choir. Is it possible to do both, or will that cause scheduling conflicts?
Unlike many other schools, where students need to choose one or the other performance activity, Herndon High School's theatre and choir departments work closely together. Our theatre director, Raphael Schklowsky, and our choral director, Dana Van Slyke, do all they can to coordinate their rehearsal and performance schedules so that a student interested in both can, indeed, get the best of both worlds!
My child doesn't take drama/theatre classes. May he still participate in productions?
Absolutely! He may try out for one or more main stage productions—the play, the children's production, and the musical. He may also perform in the twice yearly Creative Coffeehouse as well as in The Grand, Herndon's summer theatre program. If he doesn't want to be on stage, he may also fill one or more behind-the-scenes positions, where he may work with stage management, run crew, set construction, props, costumes, and/or make-up. The only activities limited to students taking theatre classes are the technical positions—lighting and sound—as well as the annual Shakespearean production.
What is “hell week”?
The week leading up to the first performance of any Herndon High School Theatre production is called “hell week”, because it’s the last chance to get everything done before opening night. That means that there’s probably going to be a rehearsal every day after school and well into the evening. It’s exhausting, but the students run on adrenaline—and food supplied by the Boosters. As they dedicate themselves to a common goal, they also really come together as a team. As the saying goes, “it’s a good kind of tired.”
Do rehearsals during "hell week" really last until 10 p.m.?
Yes, they sometimes do. Typically, older students are the ones involved in the main stage productions, and they have learned to balance their schoolwork and theatre responsibilities.
If your child is in a lower grade, have him or her ask an older theatre student for advice. Many students do their work between sets or when they are not on stage. It's the ultimate in multi-tasking as well as good training for the hectic life your child will have in college.
One tip for parents—the rehearsal schedule in the weeks leading up to a show is generally planned and posted ahead of time. Encourage your child to do as much work as possible ahead of time.
What Can I Expect During the Year?
What's the process for getting involved in a production?
Your child should watch for audition notices. There will be posters around the school, morning announcements, and postings on this website. Otherwise, he or she may contact Raphael Schklowsky, the theatre director.
Are there events other than shows I need to know about?
If your child is a theatre student, there are a variety of activities that happen throughout the year.
- Virginia Theatre Association Conference & One-Act Competition (usually late October)
Students compete against other schools, and seniors have the opportunity to audition for attending colleges.
- Virginia High School League One-Act Play Competition (usually late January)
Herndon High School hosts this competition, in which winning plays may move to additional levels of competition.
- Destination Field Trip (usually late March or April)
Students have the opportunity to travel to a destination, to be announced each year.
- End-of-Year Gala/Department Awards (usually June)
This fun, business casual event celebrates the theatre students and includes an awards presentation, Thespian inductions, and a Senior Showcase of talent.
Is my child expected to be in or at all of the events?
Theatre students are expected to support the Theatre Department and their fellow students, but they certainly don't have to be onstage or participate in all of the productions and events. Raphael Schklowsky, the theatre director, makes participation requirements clear.
What's a Cappie?
The Cappies is an awards and writing program, in which high school theatre and journalism students receive training as critics. They attend local school productions, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. They also vote for awards that are presented at the Annual Cappies Gala.
To be considered, students submit a sample critique. Each selected student then attends five shows and writes critiques on each.
For more information on the Cappies, visit their website.