Seniors to direct in new KU auditorium

Seniors in the after-school drama program at Klamath Union High School will present four one-act plays this weekend in KU’s new James Ivory Arts Center auditorium. All four shows will run Feb. 7-8 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Bree-Anne Shanks will direct “Answers.” Mackenzie Smith will direct “Mrs. Harper’s Bazaar.” Malia Waggoner will direct “Drugs are Bad.” Alekzandr Leach will direct “Sittin’.”

“Having the opportunity to direct a show in the new theater is an honor,” said Leach, who previously would have been on stage at the Mills Elementary School auditorium.

KU’s auditorium opened this fall, one year after the rest of the high school’s renovated spaces, in a multipurpose area once used for wrestling. The school’s fine art teachers were consulted on the auditorium’s design and already love their new space in a center dedicated solely to the arts.

“We don’t have to worry about being too loud or creative,” said theater teacher Lindsay Stratton. “We can let loose over here.”

A lifelong actor who teaches her craft in Introduction to Theater, Advanced Theater and the after-school drama program, Stratton is enjoying everything about her new work setting.

Her theater classroom, adjacent to the auditorium, includes a storage area for props, a workspace to fabricate and organize sets, two bathroom/dressing rooms and exits leading directly to stage left and stage right.

In a second-floor sound room, Stratton stores the many fun “toys” she uses to teach sound and lighting. The electronics include a digital lightboard, a sound panel that can be controlled from a computer tablet, 10 wireless head microphones, and six wired and two wireless handheld performance microphones.

The sound room overlooks a “black box”-style performance space 30 feet deep, 27 feet wide and 16 feet high, demarcated not by an elevated stage but by a retractable red velvet curtain. Inside this performance box are suspended lights and four boom microphones, as well as a 29’ screen for all sorts of projection, from movies to power point presentations.

The auditorium’s viewing space is as versatile as its performance space. Its 240 seats retract into a three-foot bank against the back wall, leaving a large open floor for tables, a dance floor, or whatever might be needed for school or community events.

Orchestra Director Wendy Savage praised the versatility and acoustics of the new auditorium, where she presented the KU orchestra’s October concert.

“It was wonderful to be able to rehearse and perform at our home school,” Savage said, noting that the state-of-the-art sound system makes the space “a lot of fun to play in.”

“The parents really enjoyed the intimate setting, and it was particularly exciting to see parents and students mingling after the program in the cafeteria, which served as a nice foyer,” she said. “I am really looking forward to the future potential for the space.”


Above: Click images for larger version. Photos submitted by K.F. City Schools