Theatre’s Impact on Conifer

Why theatre matters to so many teens in the Conifer area


Photo courtesy of Berit Manser

Freshman Maryn Rafdal, who does not attend Conifer, pactices on the silks days before the opening night of Pippin, Conifer's spring musical. The musical involved various elements that the cast had never worked with before, from a raised platform on the stage to silks hanging from the ceiling.

If you drive around Conifer on any given day, you are likely to see a poster for a theatre company.

   As many know, Conifer is the proud home of not one, but two, impressive theatre companies: The Venue and StageDoor. These companies produce more than five shows a year across various age groups, many of which are loved by audiences. The high school also offers an active theatre program, with shows such as The Importance of Being Earnest and Pippin in the 2017-2018 season. Between these programs, one of the most active, and impacted, age groups is teens.

   Ian Booth, a freshman who is an active member of StageDoor and the high school program, says he definitely sees kids improve due to theatre.

   “It teaches you to be more open, and to really get a mindset for others by playing a character, and you can have friends,” Booth said.

   It’s hard to deny how wide theatre in Conifer reaches. Both independent theatre companies have productions for all ages, from kindergarten to adult productions, and this makes theatre a good way to spend time with family. It’s rare for these shows to not sell out and even overfill the theatre at least one night of a production – and that’s just a minimum. Ashley Trefethen, a freshman in the StageDoor program, says that this is part of why kids are constantly gaining interest in theatre.

   “It’s popular because kids invite their friends, or you come and see shows and you think, ‘I wanna be in that.’ And you can, it’s really easy to join,” Trefethen said.

   Booth and Trefethen are themselves examples of how Conifer’s theatre makes an impact, and how kids become devoted to the art.

   “I am currently in Pippin here, and four shows at StageDoor. I used to be really shy, but theatre definitely made me more open to others and extroverted,” Booth said.

   “I did Cinderella, and I am doing two shows next year. Theatre helped me get to know upperclassmen; I now am friends with a lot of older kids in StageDoor because of StageDoor and I see them here. It has also helped me become more confident,” Trefethen said.

   What many in the community note while watching shows is how impressive and well-oiled they are. Many teens involved in theatre, including Booth, attribute this to the strong bond made in a production cast.

   “It’s a family, everybody is very tight,” said Booth.

   As Conifer grows in numbers, its numerous theatre programs have stayed a strong point in the community. Waitlists for shows continue to fill up and the community continues to be impressed by shows. Most importantly, though, kids continue to learn and grow in the theatre program.

Chase Conlin, Prince Pippin, takes care to get his makeup just right the night of the final dress rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
The hustle and bustle of the boys’ dressing room is evident as boys line up at the mirror to complete their stage makeup. Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
Prince Pippin, played by junior Chase Conlin, wants more passion and adventure in his life. Pippin turns against his father and aims to make change in society. Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
A bird’s-eye view of the cafeteria greets the musicians in the pit orchestra for Pippin. The musicians played on a riser that towered above the stage. Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
Techs bring the show together – without them, there would be no lighting or sound. Kara Wille rand the light board for Pippin. Photo courtesy of Berit Manser.
Sophomore Stella Martin breaks the fourth wall, speaking to the audience. Martin played the Leading Player, one of the musical’s lead roles. Photo courtesy of Berit Manser.
Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
Sophomore Jacobus Oudakker surveys the audience in his role as King Charlamagne. Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
Photo courtesy of Berit Manser
Photo courtesy of Berit Manser