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Theatre Amplifies Young Voices During Pandemic
Theatre Amplifies Young Voices During Pandemic
Posted on 10/29/2020
A.C. Reynolds High theatre students tackle complex topics from the stage for play festival.Featured Photos (in order): 1. Theatre students at A.C. Reynolds High record an original performance on Oct. 26, 2020. 2. Senior Aubrey Woehl holds a journal as part of the opening scene in a student-led production. 3. Senior Sam Woolley dances in the opening scene of a student-led production. 4. Reynolds theatre students pose on stage in their high school auditorium. The full photo gallery is available on Facebook.

Story/Photos By: Benjamin Rickert
BCS Communications Dept.

Aubrey Woehl performs with the A.C. Reynolds High theatre program.A spot light cut through the darkness to reveal a young woman writing in a journal at center stage.

As music pulsed throughout the A.C. Reynolds High School auditorium, she stood and began to dance as other theatre students surrounded her. Powerful news images from the past six months projected onto their white clothing as the group moved together, evoking themes of both strength and vulnerability.

It was the opening scene of an original, student-led production that will be digitally submitted next week to the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) one-act play festival. Students in Mr. Robert Reid Goodson’s Proficient and Advanced Theatre classes began recording their performance Monday, tackling tough social issues that weigh heavily on the minds of today’s youth.

“It’s a time when we need young voices and a time when students need to express themselves through their writing, music, dancing, and words,” he said. “They need to get the feelings off of their chests and out into the open. The youth are making a stand and leading action for a better tomorrow.”

Senior Aubrey Woehl portrayed the dancer with the journal and described the piece as “looking through the eyes of the young people" with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQIA+ rights, women’s rights, politics, and other current events.

“The journal represents writing down your emotions, getting your story out, and communicating exactly what you want to the world, and what you want everyone else to see,” she explained.

Sam Woolley dances during the recording of Reynolds High's original one-act play.Senior Sam Woolley agreed and said the performance was designed to give his peers a voice and help them find healing. Writing the play involved a lot of listening and sharing of personal experiences.

“My story isn’t told very often,” he said. “It’s very rare that you hear a person of color who is gay being able to pronounce how they feel loudly and proudly. This is important for me.”

For this year’s NCTC competition, students will submit a recording up to 45 minutes in length. The performance will be recorded in segments from several locations and then assembled into a complete presentation. When the Rockets performed in-person at last year’s festival, they brought home five acting excellence awards and the overall Festival Spirit Award.

“This show is mostly about what is going on in our political climate and what we’ve had to face as young people,” Woolley added.

A.C. Reynolds High theatre students post on the stage of their high school auditorium.Goodson was proud of his students for tackling complex topics with respect and open-mindedness.

"These are different viewpoints and different opinions," he said, "and they are willing to go there respectfully, sharing what's on their hearts and minds."

The Rockets will complete and submit their one-act play during the week of the 2020 general election.

Learn more about the North Carolina Theatre Conference's High School Play Festival.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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