Welcoming a new drama teacher to the stage

Starting off the day with a half-marathon, drama teacher Jamie Roberts auditioned for her first time on stage theater role in 19 years. Prior to that, she was directing and producing.  Since then, Roberts has participated in multiple theater groups and organizations, such as the Westminster theater group and her college theater group. Now, she is the drama director here at Walnut High School. 

Her interests in the arts began when she was 3 years old. Roberts has been a part of piano classes, dance, choir and musical theater lessons from a  young age. When she was in kindergarten, she participated in her first production, “Annie”. 

“I’ve always been surrounded by the arts and it has remained a passion of mine from a very young age,”  Roberts said.

Prior to working at Walnut, Roberts worked as a theater educator for 16 years. Some of the shows she directed include “The Crucible,”“Elf Junior” and “Guys and Dolls”. Roberts has also been a part of multiple theater groups outside of school. Her current group is the Westminster Community theater group. They do improvisation shows and put on small plays. 

“I think it’s that sense of camaraderie that just keeps me coming back and back for not only being a part of theater but teaching it and directing,” Roberts said. 

Roberts returned to acting on stage to expand her horizons. She returned after a 19 year hiatus, in which she only directed and worked off-stage. Being a part of these productions helps her further understand her students’ experiences on stage. This experience helps her advise both onstage and off stage.  

“I started doing shows again like performing and shows again at the Rose Center theater,” Roberts said.  “I wanted to remind myself of what my students were going through during auditions.” 

Roberts’ favorite part of the show is the first dress rehearsal. A first dress rehearsal is the first time the show goes on from start to finish in full costume, with the entire set. 

“It’s the first time you really see the show put together and something magical happens at that rehearsal where everything just comes to life,” Roberts said. “Everything gets boosted up 100 percent.”

As for her plans for the drama program this year, she has a virtual Christmas show planned based on a virtual adaption of The Christmas Carol. She and the advanced drama class are currently brainstorming  more ideas for this school year. She hopes to put on some type of outdoor musical during the second semester. 

Mrs. Roberts mentioned that she is so appreciative of the welcome reception she received upon coming to Walnut. She added that this transition could have been extremely stressful but the amazing students and staff prevented that. 

“I’ve only been at Walnut for two and a half weeks so far,” Roberts said. “Everybody I have met has been so welcoming and so kind.”

By Sofia Majeed, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Jamie Roberts