A single girl in a pink poodle skirt sat on a makeshift park bench as a young man in a 90s flannel
approached, sending the young girl running. This would have been a strange interaction had it
not been Saturday, August 26, 2017 at the seventh annual Drama Escape Day at Notre Dame
Preparatory High School.
From 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., NDP students from every grade participated in workshops designed specifically for those interested in learning more about the school theatre department. Created in 2010, Drama Escape Day has played a tremendous role in welcoming freshmen and other new students who want to get involved in the performing arts.
When asked why she attended, freshman student, Ashton Rains said, “I had never been
in any school clubs, so I wanted to try something new and this seemed fun and energetic.”
She quickly discovered that she was correct.
All were welcome, according to NDP Drama club moderator Mrs. Wilson, who viewed this year’s event as a great success. Wilson, who has been running Drama Escape Day since the beginning, wanted to give students the opportunity to learn about theatre and its impact in the NDP community.
Regarding the development of the program, Wilson said, “Our intention was that we would take the concept of the student-run workshops from thespian leadership camp and that the students got involved because they felt they could present leadership skills and encourage bonding the way that they had been shown at thespian camp, only do it with the subject of theatre that would help incoming freshmen get to know what we do here at NDP … The initial concept was to take that kind of student run workshop and to present theatre in it.”
Every year, Drama Escape Day is a themed event, and this year was no exception. The 2017
theme was “Drama Through the Decades,” featuring a myriad of outfits that sent the actors back
to the future. Each one of the six groups was comprised of freshmen, sophomores, and transfer
students who traveled with junior and senior members of the drama club, creatively dressed
according to the style of their decade. Groups were led by either 1960s ladies in go-go boots,
1970s hippies, 1980s aerobics instructors, or 1990s grunge teens. As they traveled to the
different workshops, the students encountered a 1920s flapper girl, and 1950s students in poodle skirts, a rock star, Madonna, and robots from the year 3000.
All of the participants and leaders started the day by playing games, getting to know each other, and learning a song and dance routine to “We’re All in This Together,” from the 2006 Disney Channel original movie “High School Musical”. After, each group traveled to the six different workshops: Playwriting, Acting 101, Leadership, Makeup, Tech, and Movement. In each workshop, students who were brand new to theatre, as well as experienced actors, were able to learn more about theatre. Yet, not everything was about being on the stage. Playwriting offered students the opportunity to write short scenes of their own, and the Tech workshop was specifically designed for students who enjoy behind-the-scenes work more than performing. However, there were still plenty of activities for those who enjoy the spotlight in Acting 101, Leadership, Movement, and Makeup.
Maris Ackerman, Drama club President and leader of the movement workshop, reflected on her experience, “It went wonderfully,” she said. “I think everyone was super involved and I think everyone had a really good time and I know I had a fabulous time .. , It’s the first time we’ve done that workshop (movement), but I think kids really enjoyed it. ”
Third-year drama program member Jose Martinez echoed her thoughts when he called it “The best Escape Day ever!”