Curtain up for the summer production of the student theater group

WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) – No adults? No problem. A group of teens and young adults in Williston are embarking on an all-student-directed theatrical production this summer.

For the past few months, Verdantrics Production Company has been working to put together a performance of The Lucky Stiff.

The cast and crew are made up of kids between the ages of 16 and 20 and the show is run by a couple of 18 year olds. They want to prove that adult supervision isn’t necessary for a top-notch production.

The kids at the Champlain Valley School District have about a month of summer left, but Williston Central School is full of students. Students do something they have never done before.

“So now we’re running a nonprofit organization that has set its own challenges while also trying to make the show happen,” Avery Smith said.

The Verdantrics Production Company was founded in 2019 by two students in Hinesburg. After skipping 2020, they were back last year.

“But they’ve been very busy this summer, so they had planned to just wind up the company and liquidate the assets,” Smith said.

That’s where Avery Smith and Isabella Hackerman came in, creating the next generation of summer student theater in the district.

All cast and crew members are under the age of 20, with the exception of Smith’s father, who works as a technical director.

“I think everyone on this production is doing things they’ve never done before. Some of it is familiar, but some of it is completely new,” Smith said.

For the past few months or so, this young adult crew has been working to create a production of The Lucky Stiff, a comedy we don’t want to spoil too much.

But they did it without adult help.

“It’s just such a fun and unique environment when it comes to peer to peer education where you all learn from each other without feeling like one person in the room is older and has all the right answers” , Smith explained.

While Smith directs the show, his counterpart Hackerman works as musical director. None of them plan to study theater at university. Smith will study engineering and Hackerman will study chemistry.

“When Avery approached me about possibly doing a show, I was like, ‘Sure!'” Hackerman said.

“I mean, what better way to spend a summer doing something very scientific, very academic than doing something I love in the arts?”

Hackerman says it was a great learning experience for her in many ways. For one thing, she has never conducted before. Now she is leading the band for this show.

“It used to be hard for me to say I’m in charge, I’m the boss. And I had to do that and it made me a lot more confident I think,” she said.

Despite the lack of adults, they say it’s going well and that there’s that certain something that makes a show of peers and peers special.

“Since we’re not adults, it’s good to let youth guide this,” Smith said. “I think something young adults have is a lot of ambition and passion, so why not use that?”

The curtain goes up Thursday at 7:30 p.m. They also perform on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets cost $12. Click here for more details.

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