By: Olivia Foster
Due to the upcoming musical we chose to interview faculty member Taylor Gilman about her recent production and how it all started.
A self-proclaimed “lover of the arts,” Gilman is an experienced actress, educator, and director, originally from Glenwood Springs, CO. She came to Pueblo as a Teach for America corps member in 2015. Gilman performs regularly at Steel City Theatre Company in addition to directing TAA’s plays and musicals. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver and a master’s degree from University of Colorado-Denver.
When asked how she chose drama and tech for a career, Gilman responded by saying, “I chose to be a drama/tech teacher because I am obsessed with every aspect of the theatre. I am a director and actor myself, so I love sharing my passions with young people and seeing their passions blossom as well. This class always has such a positive and hardworking atmosphere. I love it!”
Gilman works to keep the current group of students in her mind when picking the plays and musicals performed at PCHS. The changes to the way school is typically done may make it more challenging to get a sense of the group, but Gilman says she strives to “look at my current students' interests and talents, and I let those things guide me.”
Thematically last year’s musical is different from this years’ in that last year the characters were adults and this year they will be high school students. Ms. Gilman feels that this change will help the actors “better relate to the story and the music.”
The 6-to-8-week process of preparing for plays or the 8-to-10 weeks needed for musicals could be very draining for Gilman and the students due to all the extra regulations from COVID. Some of the changes created include having to limit the number of cast members and that those cast members will likely have to wear masks when they perform. Another change is that only a limited number of tickets can be sold for in-person viewing.
“It is tough, but I am happy we still get to do a musical in one shape or form,” said by Gilman.
While the actors are the ones seen by the audience, another important aspect of the musical is the backstage crew.
“The backstage crew of a play or musical is SO IMPORTANT. These people go unseen, but they are the only reason a performance can even go on. I have to put an incredible amount of trust in my crew. I treat my crew like working adults, therefore I expect them to act in a way that is mature and professional. Luckily, I have had great experiences working with students at TAA,” expressed Ms. Gilman.
While things may be different this year, the atmosphere Ms. Gilman hopes to create with each of her classes still remains. We are thankful to have such a dedicated teacher leading this year’s musical.