Drama department united between schools

The Diamond Bar High School drama department has found a way to bring together students from across the district in the Diamond Thespians program.

The program is a collaboration between drama clubs from Chaparral, Suzanne and South Pointe middle schools and the DBHS drama department. They organized the Diamond Thespians program to give middle schoolers an opportunity to experience high school theater.

“We’re allowing middle school drama students to see how it works and to be exposed to more things they may not have,” production manager senior Kayla Lam said. “The whole point was to make them feel more welcome and help the transition from middle school to high school drama.”

The curriculum of the program includes workshops on subjects like stagecraft, directing, audition technique and playwriting, as well as performance opportunities in the form of monthly cabarets and seasonal musicals. 

The classes and workshops will be taught by the drama department and several other volunteers invited by the drama teacher Jared Kaitz.

“Some of those [classes] are going to be taught by working performers, some people that have even been on Broadway [and] other people that have done regional work,” Drama president senior Allison Santogrossi said.

She also said that the program would help foster a sense of community between participating middle schoolers and the drama department as they slowly acclimate to a deeper involvement in theater.

“For a few years, we’ve been trying to develop the idea of having a drama club that would appeal to people that aren’t in drama but that might want to be in drama but don’t have the time in their schedule,” Santogrossi said. “And we’ve been wanting to recruit middle schoolers to our program, that’s been one of our big goals over the past two years.”

The Google Classroom where the Diamond Thespian meetings are held has almost 30 students, and Santogrossi said she expects more to sign up in coming weeks.

“The last time we checked, there were 28 and that was only a few days after we had put out the assignment. At this point it’s been a week and a half or two weeks, so there’s probably even more now,” Santogrossi said.

Secretary senior Pailey Kao and Intermediate Drama Leader sophomore Olivia James also expressed their enthusiasm at the turnout. Kao mentioned her admiration at the work the participating students have been putting in so far and said she was looking forward to future recruitments.

“We have yet to host an official event, but meeting all these students and watching their performances in cabarets makes me very excited,” Kao said. “Drama has been a staple in my life since I was in middle school as well, and seeing these students who just discovered this passion and are so eager to learn more and grow is inspiring.”

The DBHS theater Instagram account, @dbhstheater, recently released a video of their Shakespeare cabaret, which includes a clip of participating middle schoolers reciting lines from a scene in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ directed by Santogrossi and Vice President Diego Tamayo.

The Diamond Thespians meet every other Friday after school, and their next meeting will be on Oct. 16.