Abbey Calderwood had been given an opportunity that few students have had the chance to take


provided by Abbey Calderwood

Senior Abbey Calderwood has been the student theater director for two years.

In the midst of the sometimes chaotic theater show performance preparations, senior Abbey Calderwood plays the mediator amongst the cast, crew, and adult staff. 

The official term for that role is titled “student director”—a position in the FHC theater production that very few students get the chance to step into. 

Starting in her freshman year, Abbey found her place being a part of the costume crew and also had a role on the deck crew, playing the sometimes underestimated roles behind the scenes of the smooth-running shows and musicals of FHC. 

From there, Mrs. Robbin DeMeester, head of the theater department at the time, saw Abbey’s love for the theater and acted accordingly.

“[In] my sophomore year, [Mrs. DeMeester] asked if I would be willing to train to be the student director,” Abbey said. “In my sophomore year, I was the assistant student director so then I would be ready to be the student director for junior and senior year.” 

Jumping into such a vital role is not easy, and the unique circumstances of the performances in the spring of 2020 and the 2021 school year did not bring the normal stage presence; Abbey learned the ropes of the role a bit unconventionally. 

However, even though this is Abbey’s last year on the theater staff, seeing as her senior year is coming to an end, the position of student theater director will not be in jeopardy. Currently, junior Ashley Yarnell is training alongside Abbey to take over her role next year.

“She’s been doing great,” Abbey said. “She has definitely gotten more experience than I got. Because of COVID-19, I never got the musical training, which I feel is a big thing because [the spring] musical is kind of the biggest show of the year, so I’m really happy that she is able to do musicals and be trained for that before she has to go right into it.”

One of the perks of being behind the scenes and watching the show evolve from the side is also getting to witness the cast grow and evolve in their roles as well. 

“It kind of changes for each show,” Abbey said, “but for the play, it’s more acting, and for the musical, as well as acting, it is also singing and dancing, so people who are more of beginners when you start out—they become more advanced and get to really know their stuff.”

Being student director is unique from other opportunities I’ve had during high school.

— Abbey

No matter what your involvement in the theater entails, Abbey believes that the community aspect of it is unmatched. 

“My favorite part about being student director is getting to meet so many new people throughout all the productions,” Abbey said. “This is such a great community because you get to know everyone on the cast and crew really well.” 

Even if she doesn’t directly use theater or her director skills in her future, Abbey has taken numerous lessons and skills from her time in the leadership role of student director. 

“I have had a lot of learning moments throughout my time as student director,” Abbey said. “There are always little mishaps that happen throughout every show, but it is important to learn from these mistakes. When something goes wrong during the shows, it always seems like a big deal at that moment, but most of the time, the audience does not notice, and we are all able to look back and laugh about it after.” 

And above all, Abbey will take these newly acquired skills and experiences with her into her future endeavors. 

“Being student director is unique from other opportunities I’ve had during high school,” Abbey said, “because this position has taught me a lot about being a leader as well as provided me with many skills that I can use in the future.”