While most students were delighted by the recent snowfall in Georgia, the students in Troupe 6163, North Gwinnett High School’s student theater troupe, were dismayed. These passionate high school students, or the North Gwinnett Players, as they affectionately call themselves, had a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella planned for that Friday evening at seven o’clock, but the inclement weather conditions caused the school’s facilities to shut down for the rest of the day.
Among the North Gwinnett Players, Friday nights were famous for being the busiest nights to put on a show, and thousands of dollars were usually brought into the theater program from tickets and concessions. Due to the snowfall, the North Gwinnett Players’ last chance to perform the show was on a Saturday afternoon in less-than-ideal, frosty weather conditions, and if Friday nights were famous for being the busiest nights, Saturdays were infamous among the students for being the least busy.
Understanding the gravitas of the situation, students launched a massive social media outreach campaign as nearly every theater student with social media began to advertise and promote the cancelled show. This student-led marketing campaign ranged from students posting pictures of posters advertising the show to snapshots of students drawing sad faces in the snow, all with lengthy, pleading captions.
However, on the long-awaited day of the show, it began with a letdown.
Audience members began to trickle in at an almost glacial pace ten minutes before the show was to start. Actors in Cinderella frantically asked the North Gwinnett Players who were working at concessions whether or not there was a large turnout, and they answered with optimism but with no true substance to their responses. The mood backstage was of the usual jubilance and stage anxiety, but there was also disappointment and a “the show must go on” attitude among the show’s cast.
However, just five minutes before the show was to start, hundreds of people began to arrive in the theater, forming large crowds that covered nearly every free space in the front. Tickets started running out, and students had to begin assigning marked playbills as tickets. Students had to forgo standard procedure and begin taking money and giving tickets to audience members who were still in line.
With the final audience member in their seat, the North Gwinnett Players took a deep breath. Almost every seat in the theater was filled – with exact numbers showing that only thirty seats were not. Students that night were exposed to loud applause, but at the same time, they performed to the knowledge that they had the backing of an intensely passionate, supportive community of students and adults.
To quote Cinderella, “Impossible things are happening every day!”
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