To abide by the established qualifications to retain our Enrichment Program status, all Loyal Heights students were invited to participate in our production of Mary Poppins Jr. All who expressed interest were asked to review the TAG Experience to understand the program prior to committing and all 162 who auditioned were secured in the company. We specifically chose a script that included acting, singing and dancing, exposing the company to a full musical theatre experience. The number of roles were expanded from the original 30 to accommodate all students interested in participating and every effort was made to balance the roles and creatively interpret the script as much as possible within the legal constraints of our license agreement. Cast members were asked to pay dues which covered the cost of a cast t-shirt, a costume, and a cd of the score to keep. Each cast member received quality music, acting, and dance training over the course of 6 months and performed for live audiences. Rehearsal Assistant Team (RAT) members were asked to pay dues which covered the cost of a hat, crew t-shirt, pants and socks, and cd of the score to keep. All 18 who registered to be RATs were secured in the company. They received hands-on theatre production experience over the course of 4 months and performed for live audiences. All TAG alumni were welcome to participate as rehearsal and backstage volunteers, proving our ongoing commitment to LHE students, encouraging longterm friendships, and providing positive role models for our current students. Scholarships were available to any company member who requested so that all interested had the opportunity to participate. We had four sold-out shows, performing to almost 2,000 audience members in two days.
All adults in our LHE community were invited to participate on the TAG Team to plan the production and the LHPTA board received an open invitation to attend any TAG Team meetings; meetings were posted on the Calendar and on the NEWS page throughout the length of the production run. All major decisions related to casting, creative direction, rehearsals, schedules, budget, volunteering, etc. were made by the TAG Team or appropriate sub-committees therein. For the 2018-19 school year, an Equity Team Liaison position was created on the TAG Team to consider all aspects of the production with care from an equity and representation standpoint. Two anonymous surveys were offered; one to our TAG families and a second to the TAG Team which accompanied our annual TAG Team project critique meeting in April to invite constructive feedback and ideas for improvement and change to best support our ever-evolving school community. Per tradition, information collected was reviewed this year and will be again at the beginning of next year's production.
Company families received pertinent information through the length of the production via the weekly TAG Times, also available on the NEWS page, and all events were posted on the Calendar. Every inquiry that was submitted in person or through emails, texts, and phone calls received a response. Gratitude was expressed throughout the production via the TAG Times/NEWS, LHE ListServe, playbills, recognition at the Company Party, and personal thank you notes.
Securing our Enrichment Program status provides significant financial savings towards production costs. Including every interested LHE student in this production resulted in a large cast and audience, which required an appropriately sized venue. Upon request and with school and district approval, the rental fees for the Seattle Public School (SPS) performance venue used were waived. Other costs related to the venue, which are on par with other theatre arts productions at local schools and throughout Seattle, include lighting, HVAC, and student crew services as required by the district. Performing at a venue within SPS not only retains costs within our school district but directly benefits the Ballard High School (BHS) Drama Program which provides quality theatre arts experiences at the high school level. Note: Since the 2015-16 school year, TAG alumni have participated in this program at BHS, thus reinforcing our commitment to all TAG participants, past and present.
Scholarships for dues and subsidized tickets were available to our LHE community so that anyone interested had the opportunity to participate. All production, music direction, and choreography as well as design services for sets, props, costumes, hair/makeup, lighting, photography, videography, and graphic design were generously donated by volunteers within our Loyal Heights community. Donations and significant discounts were procured for as many materials as possible so that the project respected the LHPTA-approved budget. Production costs were covered by ticket, photo, spoon and video sales and dues for the sole purpose of creating quality, relevant theatre arts experiences for company and audience members alike.
Detailed research proves that TAG consistently offers a more thorough musical theatre experience to our students, school community, and audience members at considerably less cost to our families than provided by other schools locally and throughout the city of Seattle. All money generated went directly to the LHPTA to pay for production costs; Any monies not used for this program were absorbed into the general LHPTA fund to benefit the entire LHE community. TAG is a 100% financially self-reliant program.
School & Community Outreach
TAG supported other goings on at our school by participating in the LHE Grand Re-Opening and promoting the Jog-a-Thon, Curriculum Night, Family Dance, Auction, Spring Concert, Talent Show, A Discussion of Gender & Identity, Instrumental Music Concert, Student Art Show, Book Fair and other applicable theatre arts events and opportunities in our Ballard community.
Audio video equipment was loaned to Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, Broadview Thomson K-8 School, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to support their musical productions. Large set pieces and the majority of props used in this year's production were donated to another local school, Our Lady of Fatima in Magnolia, to be used in their production later this spring and the rooftop set was donated to a Ballard family to be altered into a backyard playhouse.
Many of our TAG Team members attended the LHE Auction and contributed to two "Practically Perfect Beach Bag" packages donated on behalf of the MP company. A portion of our spoon sales were donated to the Ms. Wilson Tutoring Fund. A beautifully illustrated copy of Mary Poppins commemorating this production was donated to the LHE Library on behalf of in hopes that students may enjoy this timeless story and the love of reading for years to come. TAG donated the posters that, together with flower sales, raised $1,440 towards this year's Fifth Grade Camp Orkila trip. As a show of gratitude, Legacy Gifts that directly benefit all LHE students & staff are included in each year's TAG production budget.
A Note of Thanks
We are grateful for this opportunity to have engaged our school community, our amazing students, staff, and families. We extend heartfelt thanks to all who participated in the MP adventure in any way and to the LHPTA for sponsoring this program. -From the TAG Team with a good deal of love
The Future of TAG
We need you! To participate in next year's TAG Team, click here.
We are pleased to announce next year’s TAG Chairs, Sadie Agurkis, Jennifer Haldimann and Gretchen O’Connell, who will ensure the continuation of this program and theatre arts education at our school. For more information on the TAG Chairs, click here.