Theatre Program Removed From School Budget

Henry Wright and Elijah Bergner, Journalists

The newest development at IHS is the termination of the theater teacher and the theater classes bringing discussion about what the school values. As journalists, we give you the information and let you draw your conclusions. To do this, we have tried to cover both sides of the conversation, letting you decide for yourself.

When Elijah talked to Mr. Mitchell, he asked about the whole situation and, more importantly, how we concluded cutting the theater program.

Mr. Mitchell explained, ¨We were looking at some district funding issues. We are always trying to be fiscally responsible, and the budget we presented this year showed an extreme tightening of the belt. We looked at cutting costs in small ways throughout the school, even if it meant cutting 500 dollars here and another there.¨

But when push came to shove, they could not make a budget without cutting someone somewhere. Mr. Mitchell continues, “We had two part-time positions between math and theater.” Theater over the past two years has had low enrollment—only 41 students have taken a class over the past two years. This left them with the unfortunate reality of an undeniable choice: to cut theater.

After this discussion with Mr. Mitchell, he realized that neither the school nor the office could be to blame for this. However, the only problem that Elijah heard that seemed to be the solution to all our problems was a larger budget. How do we get this larger budget? Some may ask, and I did too. Here is what Mr. Mitchell had to say: “Obviously, with the pandemic, the federal and state governments have put more money out there to schools, districts, and towns in competitive and noncompetitive grants. So, “competitive grants mean that the state simply gives you the money where competitive grades or something you need to apply for so we have SR money, which is a grant for recovery from COVID, and we use that grant to fund certain positions that we seem to need due to the repercussions of the pandemic. For instance, we use this grant to fund our school adjustment positions. Obviously, students’ mental health has been a big issue. We decided it was important to allocate money for a full-time position using this federal grant to try to help support our students.” He talked about the overall idea of floating the theater program on this grant, but it was ruled wasteful as the classes enrollment had already somewhat sealed its fate as a fiscally irresponsible budget spender to have.


Theater programs in schools play a critical role in nurturing young talent, enhancing creativity and self-expression, and developing teamwork and leadership skills. Unfortunately, Ipswich High School in Massachusetts has recently made the unpopular decision to defund its theater program, much to the dismay of the school population.

When asked about her reaction, Casey Williams, a senior, stated, “I was very shocked when I found out the news, along with several other students. We had heard about the proposed budget and formed a plan to protest at the school committee meeting in under two days.” Although they faced a troubling situation, Casey and other members of the theater department fought to save their program. ” However, at the end of the day, it didn’t go as planned. The proposal to cut the theater class was moved, and that’s when all the students left the meeting before it officially ended.” Unfortunately, the decision was not in their favor.

Students who have participated seem to have exclusively positive memories of the program and what it has added as well as offered to their lives. “I enjoy the aspect of getting to play a different person in every performance; the special thing about theater is that you get to live a thousand lives.” Said Casey, “I also enjoy spending time with the friends I’ve been able to make there; a lot of the fun happens off stage as much as it happens on stage. “Moreover, I feel more confident speaking in front of large groups of people and presenting myself.” Theater was not only a fun experience for students but a rewarding one as well.

Taking everything into account it is safe to say that this is a loss for not only the school’s image, but for every student involved as well. For now as students there is not much that can be done except express support and fight for a new budget for next year.