PAC’s newest director explores inner machinations of high school theatre

Gull Lake High School’s drama club, PAC (Performing Arts Company), has been around since the 1980s, making it an integral part of the school. Over the years, many students had come and gone but one thing always remained the same, the company was lead by Robin Nott, it’s founder. That all changed in 2015 when Nott retired, leaving the company’s future up in the air. After a Jonathan Kind filled Nott’s spot, Kind departed after two years to teacher at his alma mater, leaving Lisa Ouellette to step in as the school’s new drama teacher in 2017.

Although Ouellette has only spent roughly two years at the school, she’s already has made her mark within the Gull Lake Community.

So far my experience has included two fall plays, a winter show that we competed with at MIFA,” Ouellette said, “and the Festival of the Senses last Spring. I also have been teaching English and drama classes in addition to the extracurricular items associated with PAC. My experience has been good so far.”

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”14″] Obviously, after every experience, I learn from it and make adjustments as needed, but that’s just a part of growth. [/perfectpullquote]

At Gull Lake, she has directed three shows: Robin Hood and the Men of Sherwood Forest, The Veldt, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. But, before coming to Gull Lake, Ouellette directed at another school.

“In the past I started the theatre program at and directed shows for Parchment High School, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Three Musketeers, The Crucible,” she said.

Company photo for “Robin Hood and The Men of Sherwood Forest”. Photo courtesy of GLHS PAC.

Ouellette said her experience here has been much different.

“At my previous job I created the program, so it was growing and I was there for the growth along the way,” she said. “Here I’m coming into a program, so there are a lot of things to learn in terms of traditions and such.”

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”14″] One thing I have noticed here is that there are only a handful of men who will do theatre, which is bizarre to me. I really wish more males would audition for shows because then there are so many more options in what shows we can perform. [/perfectpullquote]

Ouellette’s love for theatre is great, and she really talks about enjoying every aspect of a production; normally directors only focus on the performance part of a company, so it’s nice to see someone who appreciates all art forms involved within theatre.

“I love that it can incorporate so many different arts into one piece: visual art, music, performance, design (lights, costume, sound, makeup, graphic, etc.),” Ouellette said. “I love how you slog through rehearsal and then you get to the performances and all of the work feels worth it. I love that it has something to say and has the power to not only take people out of their world but also make them think about their own world.”

PAC Club on their annual Stafford Festival Trip (2018). Photo by Sam Tilbury

She is said she’s very excited about the new auditorium being built.

“It gives legitimacy to all of the work the students do and honors the talents and interests that our PAC, music and art students have,” she said.

When it comes to upcoming productions or plans, Ouellette has a few ideas.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I would love to do the play Clue at some point,” she said. “I have a couple of ideas for next year’s winter show, but I’m not really ready to talk about what they are.”

[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”14″] PAC provides a way to have experiences and make memories while you’re here, even if you don’t have any sort of desire to pursue theatre later. [/perfectpullquote]

And what about musicals?

“Man oh man, I get this question a lot,” she said.” Sure, it’s a consideration. However, a musical can’t just be a ‘PAC thing’ because a musical would require all kinds of organization with music and dance. I think a lot of people wonder why we can’t just take out a straight play and throw in a musical instead. It’s not that simple; it’s a very different beast. It requires a lot of coordination. And money.”

Although some people may be hesitant about joining Drama Club, Ouellette said she likes people to keep an open mind and positive attitude towards newcomers. 

“If someone is interested and is willing to make the commitment,” she said, “I’d love for them to join. I like people who are willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone.”


Samuel Tilbury

Samuel Tilbury

Hi, my name is Sam Tilbury and I'm a Senior at Gull Lake High School and the entertainment/opinion editor for the school's newspaper. I'm the only student in our grade that's been apart of Newspaper all three years, and I'm very excited to start my final year on staff! I really enjoy writing reviews, and voicing my opinions.

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