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Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

Behind the Curtain: FSHA’s theater culture comes to life

The cast of Edward Tulane posing for a behind-the-scenes photo before one of their performances last Fall. Photo by Caitlin Norton ‘24

Within the confines of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, a close-knit community distinct from other campus groups emerges in the form of its theater program. Spending extensive time together during rehearsals and lingering in the theater classroom, these students exhibit a unique camaraderie. To understand the underpinnings of the theater culture, I investigated the dynamics that bring it all together.

“I believe that [the people] are wonderfully supportive, trusting and appreciative. We have a lot of worldly and wide-eyed families and faculty, and I’m always happy that they share our enthusiasm for great storytelling,” Theatre Technical Director Mr. John Burton, also known as Johnny, said.

The camaraderie among students is prominent, characterized by inclusivity and support rather than competition for roles. This makes FSHA’s theater program a welcoming experience rather than a daunting one.

“It’s super supportive; there’s a special community here, especially with all the arts and the people that do the arts, and I really appreciate that,” Dale Hancock ‘26 said.

Ms. Jane McEneaney, the Theatre Teacher at FSHA, also known as Ms. Mac, constantly uses the motto, “Ubuntu.”  The term originates from South Africa and translates to the phrase “I am because we are.” It emphasizes the belief that the bonds within a community are more important than any existing divisions. Within the theater program, Tologs embody this philosophy by valuing each other for their strengths and unique voices.

“I’ve experienced immense support through theater… everyone who contributes to making this program follows Ubuntu. It has truly empowered me to find my voice,” Gianna Lucio ‘26 said.

Through the nurturing environment of the theater community, Tologs emerge as more knowledgeable and confident individuals, overcoming their initial shyness to embrace a newfound confidence.

“I’ve watched kids step out [of their comfort zone]. [At first], they’re so quiet. So misunderstood because of how quiet they were, now existing in the group and beyond on a different level… it’s really exciting to watch,” Ms. Mac said.

Being a part of theater requires a certain level of commitment and participation, which helps build a strong community amonst members. This involves daily after-school rehearsals and intense preparation during tech weeks.

“You can’t be fifty percent in. You have to be a hundred percent in, passionate and wanting to be a part of something and wanting to contribute to something bigger than yourself,” Caitlin Norton ‘24 said.

In their mutual whole-hearted commitment, it’s no surprise that the theater community has become a tight-knit ‘family.’

“With spending so much time together, it’s natural to feel familial with these people,” Norton said.

The level of commitment and bonds shared with the students creates a sense of authenticity in their performances, breaking away from the sometimes staged and artificial atmosphere found in other settings.

“I feel like there’s a level of doing a show… it feels genuine and super welcoming,” Hancock said.

With that, the consensus among students is that the time and effort invested are worth the rewards of friendship, skill development and a sense of belonging.

“What you put in is what you get out. If you like theater and if you have fun doing theater, it’s a dream,” Hancock said.

FSHA’s theater culture has equipped Tologs with the skills and confidence to pursue an education in theater after high school.

“We have a solid history of graduating students into performing arts at the university and college level every year, both onstage and in technical theater,” Johnny said.

The familial bonds formed in the rehearsals and the shared laughter in the theater classroom make the theater community so special.

“It’s a place to call home and it’s a place for acceptance,” Ms. Mac said.

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About the Contributor
Carly Norton
Carly Norton, Staff Writer
Sophomore Carly Norton is a new staff writer for the Veritas Shield. She is eager to enhance her writing skills in contributing to the paper. In her free time, Carly enjoys reading, scrolling through Pinterest, listening to music and hanging out with her friends.

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