The McDonald County High School Theatre Department prepares students for a new theatrical season

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ANDERSON, Mo. — A southwest Missouri high school is getting ready to kick off its new theatrical season.

And even if students in the production don’t plan on devoting their lives to the stage, they will have already learned skills that will help them succeed in some other occupation.

McDonald County theatre teacher Wyatt Hester says it’s amazing to see the transformation that takes place in a student at the start of their freshman year in the program to the time they become seniors.

“And it’s very easy for kids to go “Oh I’m just going to look at my phone all day” but with Theatre, it changes everything, they blossom, they bloom, they just do incredible things with their talents because of Theatre,” said Wyatt Hester, McDonald Co. H.S. Theatre Teacher.

Two good examples are Rylee Patterson and Jacob Winkler, who portray the lead characters in the program’s first production, Pygmalion, which was later turned into the musical “My Fair Lady,” and they’re only juniors.

“Amazing friends, teachers, supporters, family, everyone saying you can do this, you know, you have to build yourself up and push past anything because you can’t get past anything in life if you just stay in fear,” said Rylee Patterson, McDonald Co. H.S. Junior.

“People skills, learning how to communicate with people, how to talk to people, I would also say time management, this program overall really is, you need good time management skills and I really learned how to have that in this program,” said Jacob Winkler, McDonald Co. H.S. Junior.

Patterson plans on using her newfound confidence, and the other skills she’s learned from theatre to one day start her own business. Winkler plans to major in theatre in college, and perhaps someday, become a teacher himself.

But Hester says there is no show without tech people doing what they do. He says they’re learning life skills too.

“Kids off-stage are actually learning technology, they’re learning to run it, we have the lighting, we have the sound, we have the lighting, we have all of the instruments back stage that make this happen, pretty incredible all of the different things that they learn,” said Hester.

As for “Pygmalion” — you can check it out Saturday night at 6 o’clock at McDonald County High School.

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