I absolutely love theatre, and I actively partake in it. So when I learned there was a new high school opening up a theater program in my area, and with a director, I had worked with in the past, I felt that fate had called me to help them out and get them started by building something for them. I felt that making them some set items would help them so they had something to begin working with when they went back to in-person learning.
After contacting the director, I got a solid plan of what was needed and what he thought would be some useful objects to build for them. In the end, we decided on four advertisement sandwich boards, four set-piece black boxes, and one industrial prop table. I set a date to go and purchase all the wood I needed for the project. Then with the help of my neighbor and his woodshop, we were able to sort, measure, and cut all the wood into the pieces we needed so that the next day when the Scouts came to my house we could just set everything up and put it together.
The tricky part of my project was mostly getting all the wood cut, measured, and sorted because everything had to be exact or else it would not work. When putting the boxes together, we discovered that the measurements for one piece were an eighth of an inch longer than it should be, so that meant that every piece based on those measurements was now an eighth of an inch longer. It was frustrating to spend so much time making sure that it was all perfect just to have something not right. Still, one of the Scouts who came to help happened to be the technical director at my school’s theatre company, so I knew he had tools in his car. Luckily he had a saw that we were able to use and fix the problem.
After the build day, we moved on to painting everything matte black with two coats on each box, board, and table. A little while later, the director and I set up a date for us to meet at the school to transfer all the materials from my house to the theatre room, and at that point, we were finished.
My favorite part of the project was planning the workdays. Two days for building, and two days for painting; however, we had more Scouts show up than I thought on the first build day, and we were able to knock out everything with hours to spare. I was able to take the extra day to go over everything and make sure it all looked fine and then spend some time cleaning up and prepping for the paint day.
Once the first paint day hit, we had many younger Scouts eager to help show up, so the painting went extremely fast. That day it was super hot and sunny outside, which helped with the drying of the paint, which allowed us to put on the second coats very quickly. This also allowed us to finish early on the painting day as well, which meant we did not need the second painting day that was planned. I was glad I had the extra days built in just in case, however; not needing them was a huge relief and a favorite part of my project.
I have never been the type of person to start and lead a project and then sit back and let everyone else do the work, so it was difficult to sit back and only be used as a resource when help was needed, and not one of the people working on the project as well. But all in all, my biggest lesson learned was that sometimes letting go and letting things happen is a good thing. It’s still my project that I planned and started, and if they needed me, they would ask; it was a whole new take on being a leader, and I think that learning experience was a really powerful one for me.