Drama and Filmmaking Explosion

Ella Gage, News Editor

There’s something out there for everyone, and drama is that something for a lot of people at this school,” drama-filmmaking teacher and director Dr. Michael Butterworth said.
This year, there’s been an explosion in numbers of students taking drama and filmmaking classes. Attendance has been nearly as full as possible in both classes, which is unusual for an elective class.
“The popularity of Grease last year was really eye-opening to a lot of students. Doing a show that everyone knows and loves is good advertising,” Butterworth said. “Same thing with the weekly LSN broadcasts.”
It’s not just advertising–the performances by Drama and the weekly LSN broadcasts are at the core of Liberty’s school culture.
Compared to past years, more and more students are getting involved with the performing arts, with attendance mirroring some of Liberty’s largest sports teams. Part of this is due to the increased availability of classes for drama and film.
“There’s long been a need for more video classes. In the past, 30 seats has been the limit. But there’s always been an interest and finally we can accomodate for that. I’m happy I pushed for more classes,” Butterworth said.
It’s not only the class sizes that have increased; it’s the overall participation in the entire drama program, including the after school productions.
“I regret not taking the actual theater class in previous years since it’s so much fun. The reason so many people are taking theater production this year is because of the popularity of Grease last year,” senior Kyler Granados (who has played several leading roles in Liberty’s drama performances over the years) said. Grease is a huge part of Liberty tradition with Greased Lightning at the assembly and football game. “It’s Grease that made so many people want to be an active part of Liberty drama, and that’s why we now have 50 people on the cast and 20 people doing tech. It’s amazing,” Granados said.
If half of Drama’s success is a result of Grease and increased class availability, the other half is due to Doctor Butterworth himself, according to his students; this applies to film as well.
“Doctor B puts a lot of trust in his actors and his crew in both classes, plus after school productions. We see that with how much responsibility students have. Students even choreograph shows, like when Lili Galluzo choreographed Guys and Dolls,” Granados said.
Doctor Butterworth has a very different teaching style from previous Liberty film and drama teachers. It’s more trusting and hands-off, but, according to Granados, still gives students the resources they need to excel in productions.
“This is my fifth year here. I have a particular style, and students tell me that they gravitate towards it, especially with the popularity of LSN. Over the last couple years, LSN broadcasts have become better and better.”
With the skyrocketing popularity of the programs, both Butterworth and Granados were asked what the value of drama and filmmaking is in a school setting.
“Seeing people improve makes students more empathetic,” Butterworth said.
Granados had the same response.
“Drama has the power to give people empathy,” Granados said.