Director’s cut

SHS student steps into the world of directing


This photo was taken after one of “Aristocats” performances. Miner pictured middle row, far right. Photo contributed by Michelle Wood

The SHS theater department has put on countless shows written and directed by students. The majority of those shows have had seniors directing them with freshmen, sophomores and juniors acting in them.
Junior Kaitlynn Miner has had an opportunity that few other SHS students have had: to be a director for a non-high school production.
Miner student directed alongside director Laurel Hays at the Creative Grounds Fine Arts Academy in Greenwood.
At first, Miner didn’t know that being backstage manager would lead to her meeting Hays and ultimately being a student director for “Aristocats Kids,” only a few months later.
“Katie was awesome,” Hays said. “She was just wonderful. She was somebody who would jump in and help when needed. I didn’t always have to ask her. She would kind of just do stuff, and she gave me a lot of relief as a director… She was great.”
Hays said there were several little things that Miner was able to do. These tasks allowed Hays to focus on the bigger projects.
Miner said that the biggest thing she had to do to help prepare the kids was to get the props on and off stage. However, she also helped with choreography, making sure the kids were getting on stage when needed, directing where they needed to be for dances and what poses they needed to do.
“I helped a lot with running lines and building character in the kids,” Miner said. “A lot of it, for student directing, was backstage stuff.”
The shows that the Fine Arts Academy put on typically have six to eight weeks of rehearsal before they move into a week of testing lights and other technology before premiering the shows.

The “Aristocats” actors stand in a line
on stage at the Creative Grounds Fine
Arts Academy. This picture was taken by
director Hays sitting in the audience. Photo
contributed by Laurel Hays

The age

group of the cast determines how long the shows will be. The younger kids usually have a 30-45 minute show, while the older kids have a show that typically goes for longer than an hour. R e g a r d l e s s of the age group of the actors, the crew members are typically high school students. Homeschooled junior Amelia Waddell was one of the crew members who worked under Miner during “Aristocats Kids.” The crew members helped with getting props on and off stage, cleaning up before and after shows and helping with hair and makeup, since there were so many kids that needed it.

Waddell described a positive experience when working under Miner and stated she would work under Miner’s student directing again in the future, if given the chance. “It was great,” Waddell said. “She was very organized, and everything laid out for us to do and she’s very motivating. We had to carry a lot of things on and off stage which was really stressful, but she always kept up the spirits.” Mark Landis, owner of the Fine Arts Academy, stated that Miner was not only a great support system for the students and directing team, but she was able to transition from student director to stage manager duties smoothly when needed.

Kaitlynn Miner (left) and Laurel Hays (right)
wear their cat ears for the “Aristocats”
performance. The performances went on
for four days starting on March 31. Photo
contributed by Laurel Hays

“We felt that Katie worked hard and put in the time needed to make the student director role possible for her,” Landis said in an email to The Journal. “I’m not sure that there is anything we would have had her do differently. She worked well.” Landis also mentioned how Miner helped teach students the cheorography during practices. She had worked alongside Jessica Mitchell to create the cheorography that would be used in the production.

Miner said that at the end of the day, she believes that student directing helped her to get out of her comfort zone and try new things. Not only that, but Miner’s directory skills also grew from this experience.

“I do think it brought me out of my shell more,” Miner said. “It gave me more confidence that I can help produce something, and I can do more than just be on the stage. I can work behind the scenes toward producing a show and doing great things and helping the kids learn and grow and just being there for them.”