Veterans Memorial High School Theatre & Film Director James A. Hodgson will be presenting at the Region One “Tech 2 Connect” technology conference in May to share with other districts how technology has been successfully integrated in the theatre arts program. This year, students had the option of three additional art classes that offer students a different aspect of the theatre.

“For people who don’t act, [they] have opportunities to show their skills using modern technology,” said Hodgson.

Students are now able to earn their art credit with the Theatrical Design, Film, and Musical Theatre courses. In the Theatrical Design course that helped UIL students advance to state this year, students focus on planning and creating sets using various software, including AutoCAD, a computer-aided drafting software program. Theatre students enlisted the help of the Career & Technology Education (CTE) drafting class, similarly to how they have already built a relationship with Cosmetology to aid in the production of their plays.

“Students in other classes like drafting, marketing and fashion merchandising can take part in the UIL theatre competitions because it combines a lot of the same things they’re already learning in their classes,” said Hodgson.

Another computer program students are learning is Marvelous Designer to design their costumes. The 3D software and interactive design interface is also used to design avatars for gaming and for big-screen animation films. The courses open the door to diverse occupations for students.

For Hodgson, the integration of technology in theatre and film is a cross-curricular approach to the arts that may appeal to more students who may be interested in areas of film and theatre aside from acting.

“There are a lot more people behind the scenes of film and theatre than actors,” he said. And through the new use of technology, students with other interests, such as gaming and drafting, can earn their art credit while learning industry-standard software technology.