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In theatre productions or musicals there’s the saying ‘the show must go on’. For the Chrisman High School theatre department, they will be doing just that.
Last school year, then Principal and Theatre Director Cole Huber announced that he would be leaving the district. This decision left many of the theatre students wondering if there would be a production next year.
A few months ago, the district found a director in Bridget Spillman. Spillman was born in South Dakota, but moved to Germany when she was young. “My family grew and we lived there for eight years until my dad retired from the Air Force,” Spillman told us.
After his retirement, the family moved back to the US and have been living in Tuscola. Spillman attended Eastern Illinois University. She finished her degree while student teaching at Sullivan High School and at a Bilingual International School in the Netherlands.
Through High School, Bridget had participated in theatre and was involved in the department at Eastern Illinois University. “I got involved in theatre because it was something that always gave me a place to be myself,” she said.
While at Eastern, Spillman had the opportunity to be part of EIU’s Improv Troupe. “In the theatre department, I helped design sets for the student led show as well as working in the costume shop a little bit to help create costumes for the productions at EIU.”
Some of her favorite musicals include ‘Those are Something Rotten’, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘Newsies’.
After hearing about the opening through a professor at EIU, Spillman knew it was something she wanted to do. “I hope to bring a youthful energy and possibly having more theatre productions during the school year.”
One play that she hopes to do is “Peter and the Star Catcher”, a play based on the 2004 novel ‘Peter and the Starcatchers’ by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This production provides a backstory for the characters of Peter Pan, Mrs. Darling, Tinkerbell and Hook, serving as a prequel to author J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter and Wendy’.
“I love the story of Peter Pan and hope to try to find a way to do a version of it that will be able to be performed without a fly system.”
To help the students be more at ease while on stage or break out of their comfort zone, Spillman will possibly add an improv troupe to shake the nerves and make the performers more comfortable. “I am looking forward to just having fun with the students and helping them grow and put their best effort into everything that they do within the theatre program,” Spillman said.
Spillman also took the High School Social Studies opening. “I hope to bring a different way of learning into the classroom,” she said.
“This means to do things that they might not have seen or done before in order to see that learning something (no matter what) can be fun and interesting.”