Holt High and Stages St. Louis partner for theater production
The Holt High School Theater Department partnered with Stages St. Louis to present a special performance by the school’s acting students and special needs students. The production, held at Holt on Dec. 11, was a “musical revue” that included songs and scenes from a variety of musicals including Annie Get Your Gun and Footloose.
The performance was under the direction of Stages instructor Brent Hunsinger, and was the culmination of a semester-long program that included students from Rob Gleason’s acting class and Stephanie Aubuchon’s essential skills class.
“The idea is to integrate every type of high school student with multiple backgrounds into one cohesive unit,” said Hunsinger following the performance. “So you have kids who have disabilities right alongside kids who don’t have disabilities. They work together as a team to create a wonderful performance that hopefully is not only educational for them but entertaining as well.”
Holt junior Aislinn Hartman appreciated the opportunity to participate in the program. “It really changes your perspective about a lot of things,” Aislinn said. “You may not know the other students because most of them are really shy. But then they come to class and they are not as shy and start to talk to people, and we all realize that maybe we’re not so different and we have things in common.”
This is the third year for the program conceived by Holt drama teacher Rob Gleason and Stages Director of Education and Outreach Rob Grumich, who both thought it would be beneficial to pair high school theater students with special needs students for a joint program and performance.
“It’s about bringing some kids together who honestly, during the regular school day probably wouldn’t be spending a lot of time together. So even in a small way just breaking down those barriers is ultimately the point of this,” said Grumich. “The importance of this is the shared time working together in collaboration, the getting to know each other and the human life skills that potentially come from a project like this. That’s what we’re really excited about.”