The hidden arts at FHC series Q&A: Robin DeMeester
What are you involved in? How did you get involved in it?
“I run the Theatre Department here, and my title really is Managing Director which means managing all of the shows; and anything that happens in the theatre, I’m in charge of. [I’m in charge of] selecting the season, hiring the people that work alongside me, and then I do all of the producing for every single show that we do. I might not be hands-on directing every show, but I’m making sure that the people that are directing, the adults I hire, have everything from a set to publicity to fundraising to a cast to technical people—whatever they need to create their production.”
What motivates you to pursue this passion?
“I think probably the students [motivate me]. Having grown a program because when I took it over 19 years ago, they were doing two shows a year, and now, tony and I, [we’re] doing five. To grow the program and to see it thrive is something that’s really important to me because the students both cast and crew get a lot out of it.”
Do you feel that having classes for your passion benefits you and other students?
“The theatre classes are the building blocks for what we do in the theatre; there, the kids who are either taking it for the first time and going ‘oh this is cool I didn’t know anything about it’ or have done theatre in elementary or middle school or take classes around town and want a little bit more training. There are also the kids where I pull to sometimes [be] crew people where I say ‘hey I’m noticing you’re having a strength at this, and you’re not interested in acting. Would you be interested in costumes or makeup or tech stuff?’ Our classes here are the foundation of the theatre program.”
Do you think that if these programs were taken away from students, it would harm the student body more than help it?
“I think any art or theatre program that’s delineated from the school hurts the students. There are some students where choir class or orchestra or other classes in the building kids, that’s the break in their day. That’s their bright spot where they feel that they enjoy and they shine. To take that away would be a very long 7-8 hour school day.”
How has taken these classes changed your approach to everyday life?
“For me, just working with theatre kids in the classroom [has changed my approach]; for instance, this semester or kids who have never been on stage or [have] little stage experience it is so awesome for all of us in class to watch the growth. For a kid who got up at the beginning of the semester to do his monologue and is shaking and thinks that they can’t do it and then they blossom and every time they perform you see more of that inner strength and confidence grow, kids see it too. We’re all witnessing it together, so to me, there’s nothing better than being a part of [the program], whether it’s just as an audience member or encouraging them as an educator to help them gain more confidence in an area where they could improve on.”