New this school year, Frederick High School offers Unified Theater to students. This new addition to the school’s Unified program, which includes basketball, bowling, and percussion, will make its debut to the public on Tuesday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Frederick High School’s auditorium with a performance titled “Full Moon Over Route 66.”
“Unified Theater is an incredible addition to our school. It’s a class open to all students, with convenient in-class rehearsals that don’t require after-school commitments,” shared Kendle Butterworth, Drama Teacher, Frederick High School. “Unlike traditional theater programs, there are no auditions. Every student in the class receives a role, whether on stage or in a technical capacity.”
Having Unified Theater as an option at Frederick is significant because it provides more accessibility to theater for all students. The program provides a flexible and supportive environment. “We aim to create an environment where every student, regardless of ability, feels welcome and confident to participate in any of Frederick Theater’s productions,” stated Butterworth.
Since the introduction of Unified Theater at Frederick, many new opportunities have been created for students with diverse abilities to participate in the performing arts. Many general education students have formed strong connections by supporting the production through tech work or acting as buddies to the actors, fostering a greater sense of community within the school.
“To promote inclusivity and collaboration among students of all abilities, the program begins with several weeks of warm-ups and basic improvisation exercises,” Butterworth adds. “These exercises help students develop important theater and social skills, including turn-taking, eye contact, physical awareness and control, imagination, and vocal mastery. This initial period also fosters trust and camaraderie among students, creating a safe space for exploration and growth.”
The program’s first semester culminates in its inaugural performance, with notable successes emerging. Unified actors have shown increased confidence and improved eye contact since the start of the year. Additionally, three actors have received invitations to join the esteemed International Thespian Society, showcasing their dedication and talent. One Unified student has discovered a newfound passion for sound design and set operation, with aspirations to pursue this field in future FHS productions and potentially as a career.
Unified Theater at Frederick High School is poised to leave a lasting impact on the school community, providing a platform for students of all abilities to shine in the world of theater, while also continuing making strides in inclusive education and the performing arts. The upcoming performance is free and open to the public, providing an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the talents of these dedicated students.