OUR MISSION- SHAPING LIVES

RHS Theatre’s Mission is to shape lives through theatre education by:
1. Teaching 21st century skills that can prepare students for college, jumpstart artistic careers,
and transfer to any field or walk of life
2. Offer a rich performance, tech, design and dance curriculum full of production opportunities 
3. Connect students with working professionals from our community
4. Cultivate a safe, anti-racist and nurturing environment for students to experiment creatively

Our Commitment to an Anti-Racist Theatre & Dance Education at Roosevelt High School:

As we examine the various ways systemic racism is at work in our department, we hope to implement tangible steps now & in the future to create a more equitable environment for our students and staff. We believe that Black Lives Matter, that students of color deserve to see themselves reflected on our stages and in the stories we tell, and that every student has the right to and benefits from an Anti-Racist education. 

 

While we acknowledge and understand the demographic of our school is largely white and therefore not fully reflective of our city or nation, we still consider it our job to expose all of our students to stories, music, and movement that is reflective of America’s diversity. We also understand this is a lifelong process and that confronting the legacy of the Roosevelt Theatre Dept. will take time as we unravel the various ways theatre has excluded some students while rewarding others who enter the program with resources, opportunities and training afforded to them by privilege. 

 

Practices we’ve adopted during our time at RHS Theatre: 

  1. Hiring guest teachers & directors of color to work with our students in class and productions

  2. Color Conscious Casting. Examples include Tevye and Golde’s blended family in “Fiddler on the Roof”, “A Chorus Line” with line of talented leads more diverse than traditional productions, continuing to cast our plays in ways that question “type” while asking audiences to reconsider who can play what types of roles

  3. Intentionally reaching out to affinity groups for students of color in the school, welcoming them to audition, take classes and join our community

  4. Decolonizing our curriculum by having students read and engage with plays and musicals written by artists of color in our classes and study the contributions of designers, directors, choreographers, technicians etc. of color to theatre

  5. Engaging in active conversation with our students about race, privilege and our program 

  6. Appointing Diversity and Equity Inclusion (DEI) Advocates to our Thespian Board that collaborate with the board/directors to address & dismantle systems that create and maintain racial inequities, support POC’s within our theatre community and host once a month meetings for students of color 

 

What we’re implementing going forward: 

  1. Removing all prerequisites to enroll in theatre classes or audition for any productions. (Freshmen will still be expected to start in Theatre Beginning as it will still be a requirement to direct for Dramafest Senior year) 

  2. Anonymous (if desired) digital survey of past and present students of color inviting feedback on experiences in the program related to issues of racism, microaggressions, & casting. Survey will be sent out at the end of each school year. Survey Link here: https://forms.gle/QjMHwZwKXnyhiCrn6

  3. The anonymous digital survey will also be available on rhstheatre.net throughout the year for students to share feedback/report incidents. Once reported, we will privately connect with anyone mentioned in the report for follow up, in addition to involving admin/parents when necessary. The directors will facilitate a conversation between everyone involved with a focus on restorative justice and preventing future harm. If the student continues behaving in a harmful way, possible consequences include revoking Thespian status as per our troupe bylaws, removal from the production, or a reconsideration of leadership positions.  If the report is anonymous and no grouping of students impacted or involved can be identified, we will investigate what systemic practices allowed for the incident to take place, make changes accordingly and bring the report to the attention of students during an DEI meeting for discussion.

  4. “Theatre for Social Justice” course will be offered starting 2021-2022 pending admin approval. This will be co-taught with a guest director of color and will focus on devised work and student voice. 

  5. Choose our season with an anti-racist lens and prioritize telling diverse stories by diverse playwrights keeping in mind the demographics of our school. 

  6. Annual Symposium on our season to discuss how our productions examine topics about culture, gender, race, and power.

  7. Demonstrate a commitment to anti-racism to our community by building a welcoming and anti-racist space while also using our program to help increase equity in the field. 

  8. “Improv for Wellness” free workshops for students of color (theatre or not!) offered by guest teacher Teague Parker. Workshop Description: Using Improv mindsets to give students the tools for active self reflection & creative recovery to cultivate self worth. 

  9. Advocate to Roosevelt building leadership and Seattle Public Schools to fund a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist to advise Theatre department leadership as well as all other clubs and programs at Roosevelt.

                                                                                                                                                                             -Ms. Greve and Mr. Stuart 

OUR CHARTER- VALUES THAT HELP THE MISSION

People Matter

  • Every individual has the opportunity to make a difference.

  • Take care of yourself and your colleagues—practice Meta Moments!

  • Give and accept real apologies.

  • In your groups, cultivate each person’s skills, strengths, & talents.

Strive for Excellence

  • Define success with each new show and project.

  • Be open to positive changes and growth mindset.

  • Look outside the walls of RHS.  Learn and document new ways to do things better.

  • Take risks.  Turn creative successes and failures into lessons learned.

Work Together

  • The best ideas, performances, and results come through collaboration. 

  • Focus on the objective and challenge ideas, not people.

  • Be kind, assertive, and supportive—even when there is disagreement.

  • Work through conflicts, do not avoid them.

  • Support the final decision.

Bring Your Best Self

  • Be the person you want to work with.

  • Celebrate individuality and honor diversity.

  • Engage fully.

  • Check in on the Mood Meter.  Shift your energy & pleasantness for the job at hand.

  • Strive to bring grit, gratitude, optimism, curiosity, self control, social intelligence, and ZEST to your work!

ABOUT US

Roosevelt High School offers a full time theatre department with eight periods of theatre and dance classes each day including all levels of acting, technical theatre & design, directing, playwriting, special topics, and a full musical theatre program with vocal coaching and a celebrated large-scale spring musical.

 

The annual production calendar includes: The Book-It Show—an evening of new work adapted from literature by intermediate students in a residency with Book-It Repertory Theatre, Light Up the Stars—a dinner theatre show and fundraising auction, Dramafest—a festival of student directed one-act plays, Roughwriters—an evening of new plays written and performed by students and directed by professionals from the Seattle Children’s Theatre, Play Productions—full length straight plays produced after school and in certain classes, The Variety Show—an evening of improv, pantomime, and stage combat, and finally, the Musical Production—a grand Roosevelt tradition.

In addition, we participate in Thespians—the national honors society for theatre students. Roosevelt Troupe 5832 is a Gold Honor Troupe with Washington State Thespians, and our students attend fall Thespian workshops, unified college auditions, Individual Events (IE) festivals for both performance and tech, the State Festival, and the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln Nebraska.

 

Along with the annual department offerings, special opportunities are created for the students to broaden their experiences. The theatre program has performed on the Main Stage at the International Thespian Festival, twice at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and in Hawaii with a musical review, where we also lead workshops in improv and musical theatre. We have also brought students to New York to take workshops taught by Broadway actors/directors/agents, audition for colleges, and enjoy Broadway shows. 

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