The Decision is Made

This statement was received this morning:

"We will continue Spring and Fall musicals. We will continue to work in a collaborative manner that is best for our students."

Thank you to the following:

  • Superintendant Gothard, School Board, BHS Principal Helke and Activities Director Marshall for their swift action to open a dialogue about the issue and act quickly to resolve.
  • Music Department teachers and Theatre Guild director for weighing in on what they feel is in the best interests of students learning experience, academic health and general well-being.
  • STAF student leaders for engaging Principal professionally and with an open mind to explore obstacles and solutions.
  • Students, alumni, parents and community members for sharing their letters and thoughts about the value of arts education in our schools.

And so, we head into our 56th Theatre Season with 2 musicals, 1 play, 3-One Acts and Showcase.  It will be another great season, so I hope all of you supporting the program, will also be in the Mraz Center to see the show performances and enjoy everyone's hard work to make them happen!

Update on Progress

THANK YOU to everyone who has voiced your support for performing arts and musical opportunities at the high school. Your quick action has caught the attention of everyone and I am very happy to see that everyone is working hard at the table to resolve the issue, including Superintendent Gothard, who issued the following email to the school board, school leaders and those who have written him directly:

"Greetings,

We have received many emails in the past 36-hours showing strong support for music and arts at Burnsville High School. It is admirable that collective voices are advocating for experiences that benefit current students and offer a lasting impact, as shown by notes from former students.

I have directed Burnsville High School Principal, Mr. Dave Helke to dialogue with members of his staff, including Burnsville Theatre Guild leadership, about the number of Musicals scheduled for the 16-17 school year.

I believe that agreement around what’s best for students will prevail and potential concerns around student over-commitment will be allayed. I will ask that this meeting take place as soon as possible, with our busy graduation week upon us, and a final decision communicated by week’s end.

Thank you for sharing your feelings and support for our students.

Sincerely,
Joe Gothard"

Thank you to Superintendent Joe Gothard for his quick action especially in this busy time and to everyone who is speaking up for performing arts. Your voices are being heard and I encourage you to show your continued support that those opportunities continue to be offered as the school grows in the coming years.

How Theatre Has Changed in 10 Years

Have you ever heard of the proverbial frog in boiling water?
If you put a frog in boiling hot water, it will jump out immediately. If you put the same frog in a pot of cold water and slowly turn up the heat, it will stay and slowly boil to death, becoming accustomed to the conditions.  That is what has slowly happened to performing arts.  While the latest cut is what has brought the most outrage and attention, it is hardly the first.

There will always be difficult choices for leadership.  Budgets, schedules, academics, it is never an easy choice and tough calls have to be made.  However, given the importance of arts on the human condition and student experiences, I think the following is quite disheartening:

BEFORE

  • Fall musical
  • Fall comedic play
  • One Act
  • Winter dramatic play
  • Winter musical or Showcase
  • Spring musical
  • Summer all ages musical
  • Musicals ran 3 weekends, running profitable and supporting other activities
  • Plays ran 2 weekends, with audiences building on word of mouth for second weekend
  • Community outreach programs - Hospital tours, special needs/Autism performances, etc
  • Elementary/Junior high preview performances
  • Theatre has no annual budget to support program, must rely on ticket sales and fundraising.

CURRENT OR PROPOSED

  • Fall musical
  • Fall comedic play - GONE
  • 3 One Acts
  • Winter dramatic play
  • Spring musical - GONE (proposed)
  • Showcase
  • Summer Musical - GONE
  • Musicals run 2 weekends - SHORTENED
  • Plays run 1 weekend - SHORTENED
  • Community Outreach - GONE
  • Elementary / Junior High Previews - GONE
  • Theatre has no annual budget to support program, must rely on ticket sales and fundraising.

Please support BHS and ISD191 leadership as they review the performing arts and make those difficult decisions. However, please also remind them why the arts are so important and why they should continue to be available for our growing population of students.

BHS Theatre Needs Help!

Note:  normally, I would not post this type of thing on my business website.  However, we are not able to post it on theatre website due to the concern of 'politics'.  So, it will go here, where information can be shared freely and easily.

THIS PAST WEEK, THE BURNSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE GUILD WAS INFORMED THAT PRINCIPAL DAVE HELKE HAS CANCELLED THEIR SPRING MUSICAL NEXT YEAR AND FOR FUTURE SEASONS UNDER THE STATEMENT THAT IT IS SIMPLY TOO HARD ON THE STUDENTS. 

In recent years, we have seen the number of show performances cut considerably, and now we are seeing entire shows cut - AGAIN!  At a time when 9th grade students are joining the high school student body, we are going to effectively see much larger numbers of students competing for far fewer theatre opportunities.

NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

We are asking our current and alumni students, as well as their parents, to help us with a letter writing campaign to encourage the ISD 191 School Board to reverse this decision.  As you all know, theatre is a valuable and important part of many student high school experiences and the loss of the spring musical means the loss of some of our biggest shows each year - not to mention opportunities like the hospital tours, Autism and Hope Kids performances and other unique community outreach programs BHS is recognized for.

You can help by writing a letter to the ISD 191 School Board, Principal Helke and the BHS Activities Director right away.  Tell them how valuable the theatre program is to you, the impact the show variety has on our community and why having multiple musicals on the season calendar is important. 

We encourage you to broadcast your support for this program and all of its show opportunities - and contact everyone involved with this decision, including the school board, school principal and activity director(s).

TO REACH THE GROUP BY EMAIL: 

SCHOOL BOARD

  • dluth@isd191.org
  • aalt@isd191.org
  • jschmid@isd191.org
  • smackall@isd191.org
  • dcurrier@isd191.org
  • rhill@isd191.org
  • bvandenboom@isd191.org

SUPERINTENDENAT

  • superintendent191@isd191.org

BHS LEADERSHIP

  • dhelke@isd191.org
  • jmarshall@isd191.org
  • rday@isd191.org

TO REACH THE GROUPS BY MAIL:

ISD 191 School Board
Superintendent

200 W. Burnsville Pkwy
BurnsvilleMN 55337

Dave Helke, Principal
Jeff Marshall, Activities Director
Randy Day, Artistic Director

Burnsville High School
600 East Highway
BurnsvilleMN 55337

Thank you for taking the time to show your support for this great program.  We are putting together a formal presentation / request for the board.  So, if you do not have the time to write a full letter, feel free to send your comments or quotes from you that we can use in our presentation packet to Christine Zrust at christine.zrust@theatrebhs.com.  We also would welcome a copy of any letter you send for our files and reference.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact:

Randy Day, Director
rday@isd191.org
(952) 707-2150

Christine Zrust, Communications Coordinator
christine.zrust@theatrebhs.com
(952) 564-4472

Imagine if the spring musical had been cut in the past.  Which of these amazing shows would you have missed?
  - Shrek
  - Man of La Mancha
  - Jekyll & Hyde
  - The Secret Garden
  - Beauty and the Beast (2x)
  - Phantom
  - Little Shop of Horrors
  - Willy Wonka
  - The Wizard of Oz