Schuÿler Edgar-Holmes

Schuÿler Edgar-Holmes

Schuÿler Edgar-Holmes is a second-year Drama student from Charlotte, Vermont, who staged a COVID-safe outdoor production of the musical Xanadu and created video documentation of the processes involved, from stage management and set-building to costume-making and choreography.

One of the reasons that drew Schuÿler to Bishop’s Drama program was its broad offerings, from acting to set design to playwriting, since she is passionate about all elements of theatre. In fact, one of her future ambitions is to start her own theatre company where every member of the cast also plays a backstage role.

With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the performing arts industry especially hard and extra-curricular activities on hold, Schuÿler began to think about creative ways to stage a production. She devised a B.E.S.T. project that would allow her not only the chance to perform but also to direct, choreograph and design the costumes and sets for a production.

She knew that both performers and audience members were missing the joy of live theatre, and when she began to think about a project she could stage outdoors, Xanadu fit the bill: “It has a small cast, which kept rehearsals COVID-safe, and it is a light-hearted, family-friendly comedy – exactly what people need right now!”

In managing the entire production herself, Schuÿler had to obtain the performance rights to the show, conduct auditions and assemble the cast, finalize the designs for the costumes and set, order materials and sew the costumes. She also recorded rehearsal tracks so the actors could learn the musical numbers at home, and created the blocking and choreography for most of the show.

Schuÿler shares that managing the production was an extraordinarily valuable learning experience: “Each challenge I faced gave me a new perspective on how I could avoid it next time, as well as tested my creative problem-solving skills. I also gained practical experience in so many facets of the theatre, which I have already been able to take into my classes this semester and which will help me even after I graduate.”

Taking on so many different responsibilities in the production also helped Schuÿler hone her interests further, as she particularly enjoyed choreographing the show, doing the costume design and performing stage managerial tasks. As she continues her Drama studies, Schuÿler shares, “I’m excited to learn more about these jobs at Bishop’s, and I’m very grateful to the B.E.S.T. Project Fund providing me with the opportunity to make these discoveries.”