Oakwood Panther Theater

Oakwood Panther Theater at Bi-District Competition

Oakwood is one of only four schools in Leon County advancing to Regionals in high school One Act Play, under the direction of Theater Director Erin Cearley.

The 2020-2021 Panther Theatre group, made up of almost entirely freshman with the exception of two juniors, is performing Lauren Gunderson’s “Silent Sky.”

“I fell in love with the characters in this show when I first read it, and I love that it shows strong females changing the course of history,” Cearley said. “The relationships and failed relationships are relatable to everyone no matter the time period. This show is full of love, hope, and a wish for the better, and we can all use some of that.”

The Oakwood OAP team received first place at District March 12 at Panola College in Carthage.

RaeAnn Rantala received one of two Best Performer awards. Elijah Reed and Junior Breyanna Neyland earned All-Star Cast awards. Graci Kelley and Rai’Miaya Winston received Honorable Mention All-Star Cast awards. Projections Specialist Emalee Mudd earned the All-Star Tech Award. And overall, Oakwood received the Best Overall Tech Crew Award.

The Bi-District competition was March 22 at Panola College again. The group dominated there as well with First Place Play and a slew of individual awards.

Rantala and Reed won the only two Best Performer awards given that day. Neyland secured another All-Star Cast award while Kelley won another Honorable Mention All-Star Cast award. Stage Manager, Monique Landa-Miller won the All-Star Tech Award and the team won the Best Overall Tech Crew Award again.

“I feel like my hard work has shown up on show day,” Rantala said. “Taking the critiques that the judges and directors offer is not easy but I really try to put in the hours of work to make the changes necessary to develop my character.”

Oakwood will perform its play Wednesday, April 14 at the Regional One Act Play competition at Kinder School for Performing Arts in Houston.

No audiences are allowed, however, there will be a community performance at 7 p.m. Monday, April 12 at Oakwood High School Auditorium.

Cearley said she is very proud of her students, and it has been a privilege to take this journey with them.

Cearley has over 16 years of experience in theater. This is her second year at Oakwood. The OAP team last year advanced out of District, but like many other schools, they were not able to perform further due to COVID.

She extended a special thank you to her co-director, Stacy Salguero.

“I could not do this without her,” Cearley said. “Thank you to our wonderful admin for always being supportive of the Theater Program. We hope to make Oakwood proud.”

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