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High school theatre programs welcome new direction

  • Written by Shannon Michael Features Writer

Among the many fresh, new faces at area high schools this fall are new drama directors at Bothell and Woodinville high schools.

At Bothell High School, Chaya Glass replaces James Wilson, while Josh Butchart takes over the Woodinville High program from Leslie Herlich. Both Wilson and Herlich retired in June.

Chaya Glass

Chaya GlassCourtesy Photo. Chaya Glass is the new drama director at Bothell High.Glass, who grew up near Mill Creek, has been interested in performing since she was young. "My parents will tell you that when I was little, if there was anything that even remotely looked like a stage, I would be on it, usually singing," she wrote in an email interview.

She grew up taking classes with Seattle Children’s Theatre, was involved with all of the productions at Mountlake Terrace High School, and sang in the jazz choir as well before graduating and moving on to Washington State University.

At WSU, she had every intention of studying broadcast production, but the selection of theatre classes was tempting, so she ended up double majoring in theatre arts and communication.

From there, she attended Western Washington University to earn her teaching credentials in secondary theatre arts.

She is also a teaching artist with Seattle Children’s Theatre and at other summer camps in the area during the summer.

She has done local productions in community theatre, including Noises Off with the Cascade Community Theatre in Duvall.

Prior to being hired at BHS, she was a long-term substitute in drama at Cedarcrest High School last year.

At BHS, Glass is teaching two periods of beginning drama fall semester. Spring semester she’ll be teaching technical theatre and musical theatre.

When Glass was hired, Wilson was helpful by providing her with a long list of contacts he’d cultivated through the years.

"That has definitely been very helpful to know exactly who I can count on to support me, and he was right in those names because I have started the school year with a tremendous amount of support from both parents and staff," she wrote. 

Glass has one major goal for her first year at BHS. She plans to really let the students take ownership of their department and productions.

"I have a great group of students who all care very deeply about this department, and I want them to be able to step up and make what they want to happen, happen," she wrote, adding, "Too many times I see programs where it’s just adults telling students what they should be doing. I don’t want that. I want my students to feel like this is their program and their place to express themselves."

BHS Theatre Arts’ first production will be the student-directed and acted one-act festival Dramafest on November 1 at 7:30 p.m. and November 2 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Northshore Performing Arts Center (NPAC) on the BHS campus. Seven seniors will direct six one-act plays, and 85 students have been cast to participate.

Their winter play, yet to be named, will run January 9, 10, 11, 17 and 18. The spring musical will be April 25th and 26th and May 1st to 3rd. Both productions will be in the NPAC.

For more information about BHS Theatre Arts productions and ticket prices, visit bothelldrama.org.

Josh Butchart

Josh Butchart 2Courtesy Photo. Josh Butchart is the new drama director at Woodinville High. Josh Butchart comes to WHS’ theatre arts program with almost a decade of teaching experience to guide his students.

"I started doing theatre as a techie (technical theatre student) in high school, and moved onto the stage as an actor my senior year – so my original love of theatre started out backstage," he wrote in an email interview.

A theatre and education graduate of Whitman College, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting while substitute teaching during the day. He landed a substitute job at Beverly Hills High School, which eventually turned into a full-time position.

He spent the next seven years teaching theatre, directing, producing and designing at BHHS. "It was a fantastic job, but I really wanted to pursue my master’s degree and return to the Northwest," he wrote.

He earned his master’s in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Washington this past spring, then immediately applied for the WHS job.

At WHS, Butchart is teaching technical theatre, introduction to theatre and advanced acting/production, along with an English class. "I am also directing and designing the school productions: the fall and winter plays, and the musical," he wrote.

For Butchart, his first goal is always to produce high quality, professional caliber shows.

A close second is to run an intensive, preparatory, conservatory-style set of theatre classes.

"This means classes that will be preparing students for college theatre programs, instilling professional standards, and exposing students to advanced theatrical material and techniques. I also want to expand the size of the program, and try to get our numbers back up to WHS’ historic norms," he wrote.

"The Curious Savage," by John Patrick, will be WHS Theatre Company’s first production.

The play is a comedy about the outside world intruding on the quiet lives of the residents of a private mental institution.

It runs from November 6-9, at 7 p.m. in the WHS Theatre. Tickets are $10 general admission; $5 for students with ASB and children under 12.

The winter play and spring musical have yet to be announced for WHS. Visit woodinvilledrama.org to learn more about upcoming WHS productions.

Inglemoor High

Meanwhile, Gretchen Stewart’s established theatre arts program at Inglemoor High School will offer three major productions this school year, starting with "Thirteen Past Midnight" by Billy St. John.

The play will be at the school’s Si Siverson Little Theatre October 25-26 and November 1-2 at 7 p.m., October 31 at 3:30 p.m., and November 2 at 2 p.m.

The classic "You Can’t Take it With You" by Kauffman and Hart will be IHS’ winter production, also in the Si Siverson Little Theatre.

The play runs January 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on January 25.

Tickets for these two plays will be $7 for students with ASB, children, seniors and military; $10 for students without ASB and adults.

Performances of IHS’ spring musical, yet to be announced, will be in the NPAC.

The musical will run May 9, 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on May 10.

Tickets for the musical will be $10 for students with ASB, children, seniors and military; $15 for students without ASB and adults.

More information can be found on the drama page of the Inglemoor High School website: nsd.org/education/club/club.php?sectionid=712.

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