opinion: Skyline theater program in need of full-time staff position to reach potential
I have participated in the theater program at Skyline High School since my freshman year, as everything from a supporting actor to the lead in a show, from stage crew to stage manager. Current and past members of the program have and will go on to pursue careers in music and theatre, largely due to the knowledge, experience and support they gained from being a part of this program. Perhaps more important are the students who will use the lessons they learned in theater to enrich all aspects of their lives.
From the first show in 2008, “The Miracle Worker,” to the upcoming musical “Aida,” Skyline theatre has built up a solid program of dedicated techies and actors devoted to continuing the growing tradition of excellence in all our performances.
AnnArbor.com file photo
We all love our wonderful director, Anne-Marie Roberts, and we appreciate all that she has done for us, and the program. However, the idea that she can manage and cultivate all aspects of this program entirely on her own frankly is absurd.
This year we were able to hire our fantastic stage manager and technical director Adam Baillio and it is largely due to his expertise and commitment to helping this program that "The Crucible" was such a great success. With his help Mrs. Roberts is able to devote far more attention to the actors and production jobs, while he supervises essentially all of the technical stuff.
I was the stage manager for "The Crucible," and from his first day, Mr. Baillio was giving me tips and advice about how to be a better and more efficient as a stage manager. Before this year the tech experience has been solely focused on getting the show up and supporting the actors, but with him here the technical work has become a learning experience in itself.
Mr. Baillio has been invaluable to this program already, and it is clear that he would continue to be even more of an asset if he stayed with us, but he cannot do so on the salary that he has been given. The school board needs to take the action necessary to make his position a full-time job, or we will lose him, a scenario that would be extremely detrimental to our program.
As a comparison, please note the production staff in Pioneer High School’s Theatre Guild. They have four full-season staff members. And that is not even to mention their additional partial season staff. Pioneer Theater Guild certainly puts on fantastic shows, but it cannot be denied that their productions would be impossible without all of the hired adult staff they have supporting their students.
At Skyline we are not asking to be given the amount of staff that Pioneer has. We are merely asking for staff that we do have to be given the salaries that they need and deserve, and for our program to be treated as fairly and seriously as the program at the other high school. I know I will be graduating in a few months, but I refuse to leave this program in shambles due to an unfair lack of attention from those in the district whose job it is to ensure that the school experience of every student is positive and educational.
I hope those in positions of power in this school district will realize letting this program go to waste is not only unfair, but also unwise. There is a whole crowd of current and past students who share this concern. Please do your duty to this district, and Skyline Theatre specifically, by helping us continue to offer a great program for future students.
Hannah Lehker is a Senior at Community and Skyline High Schools, as well as an active participant in the Skyline theater program.