Dr. Butterworth

Maddie Browne, Feature Editor

You’ve probably seen him strolling down the halls, his cane click-clacking along the ramps in the main lobby. Perhaps you’ve spotted him talking a fellow teacher, gesturing with much gusto to drive his point home. But I count myself among the lucky few to have seen Dr. Michael Butterworth in his element: leading warm-ups before the show on closing night.

Warm-ups embody everything that Dr Butterworth stands for: enthusiasm, collaboration, and a distinctly unique sense of community. He begins by calling for actors to join him in the band room; his booming voice, unexpectedly powerful, clearly conveys his excitement for the upcoming performance. He greets us as we come in the door, and his positivity gives the room life and energy. 

When the real warm-ups begin, however, Dr Butterworth alternates between leading and stepping down. He helps us cover the necessities—physical movement, the trills in our voices—but when we begin tongue twisters, he invites students to lead. The same sense of equality and collaboration translates to performances as well, when students control the lights, manage backstage, and even, on occasion, choreograph. He allows us to play to our strengths and lead where we excel, an opportunity unlike any other. 

As the pre-show rituals come to an end on closing night, Dr Butterworth makes a short speech. It’s easy to see his personal connection to all of his students and performers;ost of the time, closing night warm-ups end in tears. He brings a sense of unity, of extraordinarily tight-knit family, to life in his words, and finally as the lights dim, we take our places in the curtains, determined to make him proud. 

Dr Butterworth, for all you do and all you are, thank you. Words cannot express our gratitude, but I will say this: you’ve changed Liberty, and you’ve changed me.