Our Ephemeral Foundation: Theatre Pro

Saturday, January 19, 2019 - By: Nouhad W, Allard ‘19

As though camouflaged, Mr Donald Armitage, along with his Theatre Production crew, are the brains behind almost every illusion produced within Brentwood’s T. Gil Bunch Centre for the Performing Arts - and elsewhere around campus. Measurable and unmeasurable skills are bestowed upon the students of this course, in a hospitable environment, through the knowledge and talent of Mr Armitage. This is evident when looking at his influence on his students, and the stage. 

Like ninjas, those who engage in this class literally work in the dark. Stage management, lighting console operation, sound editing, design, projections, special effects, and theatrical design are some of the many skills the students are trained to do. We gain event planning, production, and interpersonal skills. Opportunities to interact with the community through front-of-house procedures, to work the box office, and to communicate with performers and others through advanced technology, allow this to happen. We students are learning, engaging and producing. 

This class provides a great foundation for success while still generating some challenges due to the coaching received on how to deal with stressful situations. This prevents mistakes from happening in a live show and uses previous knowledge to adapt to situations where mistakes can - and sometimes do - happen. The levels of skills taught range from coiling a rope, to single-handedly operating a lighting system. 

Unless one has experience it, the phenomenal feeling of accomplishment after running a show, along with the fun and laughter that we feel during class, is indescribable. According to Ellis House Captain, Sebastian M, Theatre Pro presents a “friendly and welcoming environment”. 

Although he doesn’t get enough credit, Mr Armitage has many skills that are shared with Brentwood’s population, through his students and the amusement presented on stage. Lindsay W ‘19 states that “Mr Armitage makes Theatre Pro a place I like to call home.” Although it may sound cliché, many students do admire the expertise that he presents. The master behind the shadows, Mr Armitage, along with his crew, deserve credit for all their productions. From the weekly assemblies, to the concerts that the whole community can attend, Brentwood would not be the same without Theatre Pro. 

This course is open to Grades 10-12 and a few very talented Grade 9s. Those who have found a love for this class “have continued to post-secondary classes such as Masters in Theatre Design, Audio Engineering, Theatre Production, Design and Directing” says Mr Armitage. If you think that you may have an interest in the art and science of backstage, I strongly recommend that you give it a try! 

There’s magic in the shadows.

Nouhad W, Allard ‘19 

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