2016-12-29 / Front Page

Curtains Go Up On St. Ignace Stage

Community Support Boosts Drama Program as Cast Prepares for ‘Alice’ Next Month
By Erich T. Doerr


The members of the LaSalle High School Drama Club pause from practicing for their upcoming January production of “Alice in Wonderland” Wednesday, December 21, to show off the new curtains installed at the St. Ignace Elementary and Middle School stage thanks to donations from several area organizations and businesses. The students pictured here include (back, from left) Jacob Fenlon, Ned McLennan, Austin Graham, Heather Ryan, Eileen Law, Kieran Doddema, Katelyn Lambert; (front) Delayne Bassett, Eden Sanborn, Jocelyn Joseph, Tori Geldner, Trenton Bassett, Sarah Doran, Lily Hart, and Marissa Sweeney. Members Nakiya Kingsbury, Alicia Garen, and Briana McGill are not pictured. The installation was completed the day this photograph was taken. The members of the LaSalle High School Drama Club pause from practicing for their upcoming January production of “Alice in Wonderland” Wednesday, December 21, to show off the new curtains installed at the St. Ignace Elementary and Middle School stage thanks to donations from several area organizations and businesses. The students pictured here include (back, from left) Jacob Fenlon, Ned McLennan, Austin Graham, Heather Ryan, Eileen Law, Kieran Doddema, Katelyn Lambert; (front) Delayne Bassett, Eden Sanborn, Jocelyn Joseph, Tori Geldner, Trenton Bassett, Sarah Doran, Lily Hart, and Marissa Sweeney. Members Nakiya Kingsbury, Alicia Garen, and Briana McGill are not pictured. The installation was completed the day this photograph was taken. Next month the LaSalle High School Drama Club will put on a performance of “Alice in Wonderland” on the St. Ignace Elementary and Middle School stage, and when it does, it will have brand new curtains as part of the show. The curtains were paid for by donations from many local organizations in support of the club.

“I’m pleasantly surprised by the response,” Drama Club Advisor and play director Sue St. Onge said. “The arts are about community and ours really collaborated to make this happen. We’ll do our part to enhance arts opportunities in our community.”

Fundraising efforts for the curtains began last fall when Ms. St. Onge filed grant requests with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the St. Ignace Community Foundation; both were approved. Many other community organizations and businesses gave support to the project, including the Mackinac County Child Protection Roundtable, the First National Bank of St. Ignace, the St. Ignace Kiwanis Club, both the Women and the Men of the Moose at Moose Lodge 999, the Great Waters Learning Center, Bay Pharmacy, the local Masonic Lodge 369, the Bavarian Haus Lakefront Inn, and the middle school’s student council.

The curtains cost $13,000, with about $15,000 being raised. The additional $2,000 is going toward the club’s next big project, redoing the stage lighting system. This is Ms. St. Onge’s second year working with the Drama Club and she has strived to increase community involvement in support of the arts.

The new curtains were purchased from North Coast Studios in Roseville. They were installed Tuesday, December 20, and Wednesday, December 21. The front curtains are a dark cabernet red color, while the backstage curtains are black. They are designed to last about 60% longer than the 1990s era curtains they replaced.

“I love these,” Ms. St. Onge said of the curtains.

Work on “Alice in Wonderland,” based on the 1865 novel by Lewis Carroll, began with auditions in October leading into the first of the ongoing practices in November. The play will include 16 cast members and 10 additional students handling the props and music. Its first performance will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 14, with a 3p.m. matinee following Sunday, January 15. The students involved in the club said they enjoy participating in it because it allows them a fun way to express themselves.

“This is a good way to get to know people,” member Kieran Doddema said.

The former, beige-colored curtains were installed at the school in 1990, with some additional wing curtains and related equipment installed in 1991 and 1993. At the time of their removal, the curtains were dry rotted and had several holes in them, something that was an issue for the club during its performance of the comedy “Parents Just Don’t Understand” last spring. After the installation of the new curtains, most of the old ones were thrown out, but the department has retained some of them for possible future use as props.

The new curtains drew instant praise from the club members at their first practice using them Wednesday, December 21. The old curtains were never cleaned throughout their existence and resulted in quite a bit of dust flying when they were moved. The new curtains solved that problem and a plan is already in place to clean them every few years to prevent it from recurring.

With such strong community support, the club did not have to hold any fundraising events for the curtains. In the coming months, it will begin holding them for its lighting upgrade efforts, with the plan including a dinner theater program at the St. Ignace Moose Lodge 999 in March. A play for the program has not yet been selected yet, but the club is looking at its options for a murder mystery.

Return to top


Click here for digital edition
2016-12-29 digital edition