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So your son or daughter is into theatre . . .

What does that mean for you, the parents?

First and foremost, you're in for a great adventure. It's a wonderful creative outlet for your student. And, it's a great opportunity for you to see your child in a completely new light. Here are a few of the things other parents have passed on over the years.

Still have questions? Send us an email and we'll do our best to get you an answer quickly.

Productions

How many productions are there each year?

There are three “main stage” productions each year: one in the fall and two in the spring. There is also a student-directed children’s theatre production in the winter, and a Shakespearean production for the senior drama students in the spring.

My child is interested in drama and in choir. Is it possible to do both, or will that cause scheduling conflicts?

Unlike many other schools, where students need to choose one or the other performance activity, Herndon High School Drama coexists cheerfully with the activities of the Show Choir, Vocal Jazz, Chorale and Madrigals groups. Our Drama coach, Mr. Schlowsky and Herndon’s Choir Director, Dana Van Slyke, do all they can to coordinate their rehearsal and performance schedules so that a student interested in both can, indeed, get the best of both worlds!

Another thing to consider – many students, when they get to junior year, have the option of taking an additional elective class. A lot of our students who chose drama as an elective class in their earlier high school years join a vocal class when they reach junior year, or vice versa.

My child doesn't take drama classes. Can she still participate in productions?

Absolutely! She can try out for the musical, children's and main stage productions. The Creative Coffeehouse nights (two per year) are a great way to perform on stage, and Herndon's summer theatre program, The Grand, is open to all students, too. If she doesn't want to be on stage, we always need help with make-up, costumes, and set construction. About the only activities limited to students taking classes are the tech positions and the annual Shakespearean production.

What is “hell week”?

The week leading up to the first performance of any HHS Drama performance is called “hell week” because it’s the last chance to get everything done before the Big Night. And that means that there’s probably going to be a rehearsal every day after school and well into the evening. It’s exhausting, yes, but the students run on adrenaline – and food supplied by the Boosters – and learn what it means to really dedicate themselves to a common goal. As the saying goes, “it’s a good kind of tired.”

Do rehearsals during "hell week" really last until 10pm?

Yes, they sometimes do.

Typically, older students are the ones involved in the main stage productions and they have learned to balance their schoolwork and Drama Club responsibilities. If your student is in a lower grade, have him or her ask an older Drama student for advice!

While it is difficult to keep up with homework, many students do their work between sets or when they are not on stage. Think of it as the ultimate multi-tasking, and good training for the hectic life your child will have in college.

One tip for parents – the rehearsal schedule in the weeks leading up to a show is generally planned and posted ahead of time, so you can encourage your child to do as much work as possible ahead of time.

What Can I Expect During the Year?

​What's the process for getting involved in a production?

Your child should watch for audition notices.  There will be posters around the school, morning announcements, and postings on the home page of this website. Otherwise, your child should contact Mr.  Schklowsky, the theatre director. Either he or the stage manager will get in touch to determine the best fit.

Are there events other than shows I need to know about?

If your child is a theatre student, there are a variety of activities that happen throughout the year:

  • Virginia Theatre Association Conference & One-Act Competition (usually late October)
    ​Students compete against other schools and seniors have the opportunity to audition for attending colleges
  • Virginia High School League One-Act Play Competition (usually late January)
    Herndon HS hosts this competition; winning plays can move on to additional levels of competition
  • Destination Field Trip (late March or April)
    Students have the opportunity to travel to a destination to be announced. 
  • End-of-Year Gala/Department Awards (June)
    A dress-up event celebrating the drama students at their end-of-year celebration including student awards, Thespian inductions and a Senior Showcase of talent. 
Is my child expected to be in or at all the events?

Theatre students are expected to support the Theatre Department and their fellow students, but they certainly don't have to be on-stage or participate in all the productions and events. Mr.  Schklowsky, the Theatre Director, makes participation requirements clear to all classes.

What's a Cappie?

The Cappies are a critics and award program for high school theater. High school students learn to critique performances and write reviews which are published in local papers including The Washington Post. At the end of the school year, the Cappies critics vote for awards which are presented at a gala at The Kennedy Center. Herndon High School has student Cappies critics and our performers and crew have been honored to be nominated (and win!) in the past.

For more information on the Cappies, visit their website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Involved

How can I get involved/help out?

The Drama Boosters is a group of parents who work to support the drama program at Herndon HS.  Consider volunteering for something small. You might start with working concessions, flowers or tickets on show nights. This is a good way to get to know people and know the families of the students your child is hanging out with. It’s also a great way to stay connected with your child and their interests.

What if my child says he doesn't want me getting involved?

The short answer – don’t listen to them!

The longer one – even when our kids tell us not to be involved, generally they like to see their parents interested in their activities.

Sometimes they feel like they have to tell us not to be involved, as if to prove their independence. That’s part of the growing up process. If your child insists that you shouldn’t get involved, remind him or her that if every parent stayed away, the Drama Boosters couldn’t do any of its fun activities. We need as many parents as we can to help!

Is there something I can do that lets me help without appearing too involved?

There are plenty of times and places that you can help without being “in the way” of your child. When there is a show running, you can be behind the concession stand, or sell flowers or tickets on show nights. Attend a Drama Boosters meeting (which only adults show attend!) and ask about behind-the-scenes fund-raising, publicity and other projects.

How do I get one of those nifty red Herndon Theatre stickers for my car?

Glad you asked! All our Drama Boosters can request a Herndon Theatre sticker. They are also available at any of the main stage productions (just ask someone selling flowers or concessions).