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Allyson, Alyssa, and other theatre members celebrating. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Boning.

From the Stage to the Classroom

Allyson Butler sits across the table, poised with a humble confidence. She’s happy to talk about theatre and her plans for the future and comfortable enough to toss a joke into the conversation despite the uncomfortable nature of interviews. Her easy-to-approach demeanor helps her lead as the vice president of Thespian Troupe #5022 and Drama Club and will translate into her future career as a theatre educator.

Though she’s been involved in theatre from her freshman year, she hasn’t always wanted to go into teaching.

“When I first got to high school I wanted to be a neonatal nurse. And then I think over time [Drama] gradually became something that I realized I liked teaching. I like being up and teaching students,” said Butler.

During her four years of high school, Butler has always shown a dedication and passion for theatre, but she wasn’t always sure that teaching drama was the career for her until the 2017 Missouri Thespian Conference.

“I took a workshop in my junior year called “So you wanna be a high school theatre teacher?” and sitting there I realized that I had a lot of the qualities that they were talking about. I have that dedication.”

She’s not the only one who believes that, either. Fellow senior and club officer, Alyssa Boning, has known Butler since freshman year, when they joined drama together. They were both one of the few to be inducted into the Thespian Society as freshman. She has seen Butler grow tremendously and can attest to her dedication and passion.

“When she has a specific goal for herself, like getting cast into a role, she will go all out. She’ll create a character journal or a character playlist and memorize her lines quickly, so that she can better portray the character to the audience,” said Boning.

Putting together a production is not easy, even at a high school level, but for Butler it has given her a chance to realize how much work she is willing to put into theatre.

“We all groan about Grease, that was my sophomore year. We did it in five weeks. It was- well, it definitely wasn’t a trainwreck, it was actually really great,” said Butler, “ It was really stressful but it also showed me how much I loved [theatre] and that I was willing to do it.”

Butler joined drama as a freshman and has been showing that dedication continuously for the past four years. As a freshman, she and just a few other students in her grade were inducted into the International Thespian Society and by her junior year she moved up to being the communications representative of Drama Club. Though she’s mostly acted in school plays, she found something special about leading students in theatre education.

“I think that the coolest thing about theatre is that you can have a student come in that wants to eventually do engineering or psychology and they can still get a lot out of it,” said Butler, “[Y]ou can create a student that’s confident and can talk with people.”

As for her future in theatre education, she’s has had some struggles finding a good program for it, but has decided on either William Woods College or Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

But for now, she and Boning continue to work very hard to do the best for our theatre program. Currently, Butler is working on Macbeth by doing research and Boning is working as stage manager. Both will have a heavy hand in the theatre workshop production, Into the Woods, later this year as well.

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