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From Zombies to Macbeth: Newton South Sets the Stage for Lifelong Success

Budding thespians in southern Newton, Massachusetts have access to a rare gem- a strong theatre program supported by their very own public high school. While so many school districts struggle to find the resources to produce quality theatrical performances, Newton South High School's "South Stage," stands out as an example to which other high school theatre programs should aspire.

"We produce eight shows a year," says Jeff Knoedler, a teacher at Newton South High School and the director of the theatre program. "[This includes] a variety of small- and large-scale musicals, plays, an annual Shakespeare production, a student directing festival, and a night of ten-minute plays cast exclusively with freshmen."

South Stage

South Stage aims to do more than entertain audiences. Its overall mission is to use storytelling to help students become thoughtful, ethical, compassionate adults. "Studies show that for students to be successful later in life, they should develop strong skills in the areas of creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and cultural awareness. Skills in these five C's are necessary for quality theatre, as well as success in most professions," says Knoedler.

South Stage is proud to host productions that challenge students and the Newton community as a whole?productions featuring challenging situations that will help students experience the complexities of life in the relative safety of the theatre. After all, as Knoedler asks, "What better way to learn about how the lust for power can corrupt the soul than by playing Macbeth?"

Newton South students don't have to stand before an audience to be involved in South Stage. The elements of technical theatre?set design, lighting, sound, props, and costumes?are essential for a successful production. The technical theatre team's skills enhance and complement the talents of the actors, and help transform an ordinary stage into an entirely different setting for the duration of the shows.

There is truly a something for everyone in the South Stage seasonal lineup?everything from classics such as The Miracle Worker and To Kill a Mockingbird, to edgier productions like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. South Stage has even put on a student written, composed, and directed zombie musical that featured a cameo by the Newton South High School's "undead" principal!

Students who are interested in participating in a passionate, dynamic high school theatre program will find what they are looking for in southern Newton, Massachusetts. This is a program that makes participants feel enriched, fulfilled, and empowered?not only on the Newton South stage, but on all the stages of their lives.

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