Mission StatementThe goal of The High School Theatre Spotlight is to promote awareness of high school theatre through reviews, exposés, and free publicity for programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are a site dedicated to increasing the visibility of local programs; helping to keep them in our schools while simultaneously creating a forum for these programs to connect to each other.
What We Do
Reviews: The main focus of The High School Theatre Spotlight is to provide reviews for local high school productions (musicals and straight plays). Our aim is to provide positive and prominent online press for these programs, focusing on the talent, passion and dedication of young artists rather than writing in-depth "critiques". That is not to say that we shed a positive light on everything. We offer constructive criticism in our writing, and also offer full-scale adjudication notes along with our reviews upon request. This way, the programs can grow from these notes which are given in a private manner.
Frequently Asked Questions about Reviews:
-You didn't mention me in your review. Did you not like my work?
An omission of any particular actor/designer/etc should not be seen as a slight or an assertion that their work was not valued. The reviews on this site average between 700-1000 words, and there is only so much that can be discussed in that length of article. Also, the reviewer is only one person with one pair of eyes and therefore can only evaluate what they caught in the moment of the show.
-Do you only do public schools?
No. We do review private schools. However, we do give a priority to public schools as their programs are in need the most.
-Do you "play favorites"?
While the writers are theatrical professionals and have often worked with and have connections to the very people we write about, we do our best to curtail any preference for schools, shows, or individuals and instead focus on the product and the process at hand.
Schools Promoted with major posts: 3/11-3/12
View Who We Have Covered in a larger map
Previews: We also publish previews of local productions in the form of press releases, video previews, photo collections, and interviews with local artists and educators who can give us an inside glimpse of their work.
Exposes: The High School Theatre Spotlight also looks deeper into our art form and those who create it through interviews with educators, shared articles about arts funding and implementation in schools, and other topics pertinent to arts education.
Informative Articles: Another major element of the site is an on-going series of original articles focused on the education of young artists within their craft. Subject matter for these articles has included audition preparation, self-presentation, audience etiquette, and the uses of social networking.
Promoting Your Program
Local programs do not simply get exposure on HighSchoolTheatreSpotlight.com. Content is also shared and linked on social networking sites, email lists, and news-feeds. Unique content is also shared with each source, such as promotional and behind the scenes photos, b-roll video, and local theatrical news.
In the first year of the site, we have averaged between 100-600 page views page views for an article on the first day it is posted, if its fully promoted across all of our social media connections. This does not include incidental traffic to the site where readers will see the most recent article on the top frame of the site. Page views increase exponentially when schools take advantage of their own social networking connections (notably, Facebook shares and email lists).
Who We Are
Paul Sawyer - Founder/Editor (Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties): The High School Theatre Spotlight is operated as a free community resource by Bay Area theatre educator Paul Sawyer (video). A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduate of San Jose State University (MA - Theatre Arts, BA - Theatre Arts, minor in Musical Theatre), Mr. Sawyer has been an active part of the theatre community for the past decade both on-stage and off, currently lecturing with Gavilan College and previously teaching with SJSU, Peninsula Youth Theatre, All About Theatre, and the Campbell Union School District to name a few. He has also had the pleasure of performing with such companies as San Jose Stage Company, Cabrillo Stage, Pacific Repertory Theatre and West Valley Light Opera.
Lani Wong - Writer (Santa Clara County): Lani Wong currently works in high tech Silicon Valley as a Social Media Marketing Specialist. Prior to that she was the Marketing Specialist at City Lights Theater Company, a local non-profit theater, for 2 years. As an actor Lani has performed in numerous shows, but her greatest acting achievement was performing in "The Kite Runner" at the San Jose Repertory Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company. Most recently Lani moonlighted as a Public Speaking Instructor for Stanford’s Engineering School’s Communication Department. She is very excited to help shed light on some of the amazing high school performances in the Bay area.
Pamela Rosen - Writer (Santa Clara, Alameda and San Mateo Counties): Pamela Rosen is a Bay Area based actor, director, writer, and trade show producer. Though she has performed internationally, seen her writing published in nine languages, and produced shows on three continents, to her, there's still nothing like the thrill of that great high school production. Trained as a casting director at San Jose State University, she began her career auditioning stand-up comedians and running comedy rooms. Today, she enjoys coaching and mentoring young actors, and still occasionally pops up in a show or two around the Bay Area.
The site also benefits from a network of guest contributors who provide their own expertise to how-to articles while also serving as news sources on our various social networking platforms.
Where We Are Going
In 2012, The High School Theatre Spotlight began to branch out from the confines of Santa Clara County into the East Bay, the Peninsula, and even Marin County. We hope to continue to grow throughout California, possibly basing our articles on solicited submissions from guest contributors. Interested in helping, contact us!
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