Board decides Rogers will get theatre directors for first time

A scene from "Godspell," Rogers' successful first effort at a full-length play last April. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

by Bruce Strand, Arts Editor

The Elk River Area School Board has approved the addition of a full-time play director and an assistant play director for Rogers High School, something Rogers didn’t have in its budget last year when “Godspell” was produced.

There’s not yet a budget for this position, but there will be an audit of the athletics and activities budget (capital and supply budget) that is allocated to schools on a per-pupil basis.

“We’re saying, approve the positions, and then we will do an audit,” said Randy Anderson, the executive director of business services, on Monday night. “Hopefully everyone will be on the same wavelength.”

Last year, when Terrell Beaudry, ERHS choir director, was added to the Rogers faculty as well, he took it upon himself to raise funds for the school’s first-ever full-length play.

“That’s great,” said Beaudry. when he heard about the board’s action. “It would be a shame of students in Rogers don’t have this opportunity.”

Beaudry is not back at Rogers this year, as his duties were changed to include ERHS and Vandenberge Middle School.

Last year, he raised the $19,000 mainly by knocking on doors in the business community. Ticket sales also went well.

Beaudry was music director, and he hired Warren Schueneman, retired Anoka-Ramsey drama coach, as director.

Schueneman, whose long resume includes many Elk River Community Theatre plays, led a large cast that delivered a high quality and and surprisingly polished play, especially for  first-time effort at a school that doesn’t have a stage. Equipment was borrowed from ERHS.

At the School Board meeting Monday, member Jolene Jorgensen asked if this action meant other program budgets will be cut.

Anderson said the process used in the district is to add the positions first and attach budgets to programs based on where the needs are.

He also said  adding two FTE’s is a considerable addition, and so it makes sense to do the audit first before adding another chunk of money.

“Let us get our hands around this,” he said.

Rogers has entered one-act play competitions the last two years. “Godspell” was the first full-length play, with apparently more to come now.