Hagerty Journalism Online

Southworth takes a bow

Trevor Southworth leaves theater department

Theater+department+presents+their+last+show+of+the+year%2C+%22The+Addams+Family.%22+The+show+was+directed+by+Trevor+Southworth+along+with+junior+Vangelli+Tsompanidis.
Theater department presents their last show of the year,

Theater department presents their last show of the year, "The Addams Family." The show was directed by Trevor Southworth along with junior Vangelli Tsompanidis.

photo by Maggie Taylor

photo by Maggie Taylor

Theater department presents their last show of the year, "The Addams Family." The show was directed by Trevor Southworth along with junior Vangelli Tsompanidis.

Ahilyn Aguilar, Editor-in-Chief

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He started as a maternity leave substitute, and as a full term teacher, he took over the program in the middle of the school year.

It may not seem like the ideal start for a teacher. But  for theater director Trevor Southworth, it was.

Southworth started his teaching career in 2014, when, after becoming his wife’s maternity leave substitute for the theater department in Lake Mary High School, he decided teaching was his passion and started looking for job openings nearby. Once an opportunity was given to him, he was left in charge of an already established theater department at Hagerty run by Michelle Backel.

“After my wife came back I didn’t have anything lined up,  I just knew I wanted the job back,” Southworth said. “Once I started, I saw how strong of a program Dr. Backel had left. The theater department had all of these traditions and certain ways students should approach theater.”

When Southworth began his journey, he had a goal in mind: to break the stereotype of high school theater. To do this, Southworth focused on more acting that could meet the standards of any theater department at any level, not just high school.

Throughout his four and a half years, Southworth has kept this goal in mind and has brought a deeper understanding of all aspects of theater to his students. Whether it involves character development, understanding the technical parts of theater or providing students with different styles of acting, Southworth has tried to apply his own knowledge and life experiences to his teachings.

“One thing I always want my students to keep in mind is that I’m not an English teacher who suddenly has an interest in theater,” Southworth said. “My degree is in acting and I’ve been a professional actor for years, so share my experience to help inform them.”

Although it’s not done every year, Southworth has also raised expectations by producing three shows to get a big amount of students involved in the plays. This year, the department has produced “Steel Magnolias,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “The Addams Family.”

With each play, Southworth insists on working along all other branches of the art to create the show, something that was not as common before his arrival. Southworth has included dance, chorus and band into each show by allowing each teacher to train students in each area. This year, in the making of the musical “The Addams Family,” dance teacher, Diane Hasenbank helped with choreography, chorus teacher, Victoria Rathbun  taught all of the music to the actors, and the band department helped conduct the orchestra.

Throughout these shows, students get to grow as actors with Southworth’s help and those who are returners have created a bond with each other as well as with Southworth. Junior Vangelli Tsompanidis, who has been part of the theater department since his freshman year has started to see Southworth as a father figure who has helped him improve as a person and as an actor.

“The amount of progress I’ve made from freshman to junior year has been amazing. I used to be a very awkward person and Southworth has helped me overcome that,” Tsompanidis said. “I owe all of my progress to him because throughout my high school experience I’ve always wanted to make him proud.”

As a freshman, Tsompanidis was shy and saw theater as a hobby. However, after having the opportunity to participate in shows and working alongside of Southworth, Tsompanidis now wants to pursue theater as a career. Throughout his three years of having Southworth as a mentor, he has improved in taking directions and has become more confident in speaking and with other people.

“The amount of progress I’ve made from freshman to junior year has been amazing. I used to be a very awkward person and Southworth has helped me overcome that,” Tsompanidis said. “I owe all of my progress to him because throughout my high school experience I’ve always wanted to make him proud.”

Sophomore Brenna McCafferty has known Southworth for only two years, but she has become vice president of the Thespian Club and has created a strong bond with Southworth as well.

“He has made me try more and read all of the plays we produce, before, I didn’t care where any of the monologues came from but now he has passed his passion on to me.” McCafferty said.

McCafferty has been doing theater since middle school, but, after having Southworth as a teacher, her passion for theater has grown and she has found a stronger interest for the history of theater.

Next year, Southworth plans on transferring back to Lake Mary to teach theater alongside of his wife, which allows him to be closer to his home and family.

“I puled my students aside after an event we were doing and very tearfully told them the news. Then I just cried like a baby and let them cry and assured them that I’m not leaving them for another school, that I’m leaving for the betterment of my family,” Southworth said.

The theater department is expecting to get a new director once Southworth’s departure becomes final, but, no replacement has been chosen yet. Southworth hopes the student give the new director a change and hopes to leave his students with a sense of joy in theater even if it does not become their profession.

“To all my students,remember that what you do is beautiful and deserves respect,” Southworth said.

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Southworth takes a bow