The Judson College English Department had the chance to work together with students from Francis Marion High School for a production of a play called “Wedding Bell Blues” on November 15, 2018. The director of the production was Dr. Billie Jean Young, along with managing director Dr. Stacey Parham, and 14 crew members from Judson drama classes.
The “Wedding Bell Blues” drama production was a success under the lead of the two professors from the Judson English Department. They created this service learning project for drama class students to obtain field experience and to interact with people outside of the Judson community. All 14 students and both professors went to FMHS for drama workshop on every Friday at 1 p.m. starting on the third Friday of September. Through the professors’ efforts, there were 24 FMHS students and their teacher, Ms. Francois, a faculty member of Francis Marion High, who volunteered to participate in the workshop together with the Judson crew. On the day of auditions, students were excited about landing actors’ and actresses’ roles when Dr. Parham divided all of the students into different theater position groups according to their preferences—drama publicity group, set designer group, costume design group, lights/sounds group, stage crew group, and actors and actresses. The publicity group was responsible for making posters of the production and programs for the production night. The set designer group, led by Sam Queijsen, a senior art major at Judson, designed the background and set, while the costume and stage crew crafted clothes for the casts. Energetic high schoolers participated with all of their hearts in hopes that the production would go well and without any interruptions.
Laura Grace Terry, a Jr.-Soph at Judson, shared that her greatest takeaway from the workshop “would be better understanding of the role of teamwork and communication in theater. Not only do actors and actresses need to take direction, but the crew and directors must also collaborate to have the best performance possible.” She was assigned to be the student director of the play who does in-depth training with actors and actresses while being watched by Dr. Young. As a current actress at Judson College, Grace explains her “experience has been a great opportunity to instill an interest in drama into high school students. Along with having the ability to collaborate with Francis Marion High School, we have been able to give students a taste of the theatre, which may eventually produce those who are willing to perform in plays in local community theaters or even at Judson, should any Francis Marion students decide to enroll into Judson College.” The purpose of doing this service learning project is, according to Parham, that “we would be able to understand drama from multiple different perspectives from the lens of directing, getting props, getting the set design, and casting the actors that we otherwise would not necessarily be provided understanding of just through reading all the plays that we’ve been assigned.” The production of the play was a success as all participants from both schools went back home with great satisfaction.