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Sam-Barlow thespians break in new theater with of 'Peter and the Starcatcher'

COURTESY PHOTO: JEFF SCHROEDER - Sam-Barlow High School theater students rehearsing in the schools new black box theater.  After a year-long hiatus and the completion of renovations to the school, Sam-Barlow High School theater students will return to the stage for their performance of "Peter and the Starcatcher."

Although performing in-person for the first time since March 2020 is a thrilling prospect, many of the student performers are simply happy to just be able to work on the play with their friends again.

"It's been an amazing experience," said senior Grace Sayles. "I've loved having the connection with my theater family that I've missed so much over this past year and a half."

Like many students, last year's lack or limited amount of in-person instruction was a tough challenge, especially for such a hands-on activity like theater.

"We really had to stay positive (last year)," said Jeff Schroeder, Barlow's theater director. "It was really hard though, no doubt about that."

Schroeder and his students adjusted to the limitations of distance learning and were able to create a short film, a radio drama and even perform "The Addams Family" fully masked and six-feet apart, which they live streamed.

Despite last year's accomplishments, Schroeder said that being in person this school year has had a major impact on his students' performances.

"There is a very large social aspect and being with each other and working off each other has made a big difference," said Schroeder.

For many of the students getting back on stage with their classmates is like returning home.

"It's like I've found a part of myself that's been missing for a long time," senior Marin Miller said. "Getting to connect and be storytellers with the theatre family is an unmatched experience, and no matter how hard we may have tried, nothing can replace it."

Tickets for "Peter and the Starcatcher" are sold out, but the Sam-Barlow theater will be back as they perform the musical "Newsies" in May in the high school's new auditorium.

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