E.G. Wahlstrom Elementary school teachers teamed up this year to keep the school’s drama program alive after former drama teacher Ms. Avery left E.G. Whalstrom.
Grade 6 teacher Erica Bakewell says last year she helped Avery with the school’s production of Seussical. When Avery left she had Bakewell promise she wouldn’t let the drama program dwindle.
“I took it with a lot of nerves,” she says. “Then I found out two new teachers would be joining the school who had music and theatre backgrounds. So I thought okay, I can do this as long as Im not doing it by myself.”
The two teachers are Laura Kenny and Andy Cahill.
Cahill moved from Loon River but is originally from Newfoundland. It is his fifth year teaching in Alberta.
“I got involved in drama because drama is my original background, he says. “I have a theatre arts degree.”
Cahill says when he was interviewed for the job at E.G. Wahlstrom it was mentioned that the school had a robust drama program.
“I was pretty excited about that.”
Cahill adds he was hired on with the agreement that he would be helping out with the school’s drama program. He explains that he hadn’t been at the school for more than two or three days before Bakewell approached him about the program.
“She basically said you’re going to be in the drama program and I was happy to jump on.”
Cahill says the kids are great; very enthusiastic.
Mrs. Kenny, the third teacher in the trio moved to town all the way from Baie Comeau Quebec, a town located on the shore of the St Lawrence River. She was also approached by Bakewell to help out with the program.
Kenny says she has less of a drama background and more of a music background. She taught music at the last school she was at and had taught music for about eight or nine years.
“I was quite happy when Erica asked me, because I don’t get to teach music here.”
Kenny is the school’s new French teacher.
Bakewell says they have already completed auditions and are working on doing the first read through.
The production the three have picked is Aladdin.
“We decided on Aladdin because we saw it was coming out in live action and thought it would be fun to do.”
The cast is about 15 to 20 students, plus eight crew members.
“It is definitely a smaller cast this year,” says Bakewell.
This year the leads of the play are from the Grade 4, which is a big deal for them says, Cahill.
The performance will take place next spring at E.G. Wahlstrom School.
(From L to R) Andy Cahill, Laura Kenny and Erica Bakewell – drama trio from E.G. Wahlstrom Elementary School.