Students from Dolores schools are acting out on a Cortez stage.
But Re-4a school officials would rather have the drama unfold in Dolores by reviving the once-popular theater club that fell victim to budget cuts two years ago.
"Dozens of kids are interested in participating in a drama club," said Dolores superintendent Scott Cooper. "Restoring that has been something we have been thinking about."
Budget cuts, lack of space, and losing key teachers dedicated to putting on productions ended the program in 2011. Student interest has stayed high however.
"Currently, we have six Dolores students traveling to Cortez to participate in theater," said assistant principal Jimmie Lankford.
The Cortez Drama Club is a strong program, and there have been discussions with them on a cooperative effort to help restart a Dolores theater group, he said.
Tight quarters on the Dolores campus, which is on the cusp of a major reconstruction project, makes planning for a new program a challenge.
"We need to think long term about how we can do this," said Dolores High School principal Brandon Thurston. "There are no accommodations for theater in the construction plans and realistically, facility-wise, we are very restricted. One-act plays we could probably pull off."
Dolores school leaders are seeking adult volunteers, actors or retired drama teachers in the community to help bring theater back to town. Thurston said putting on big productions "takes as much effort as organizing a sports team" and requires a lot of parent support and volunteers.
Elementary principal Sherri Maxwell recalled a popular drama program.
"The shows were jammed packed," she said. "It's a great activity. We used to have drama coaches who would help put on a small play in the fall and a big one in the spring. But then it got expensive and it disappeared."
Productions of "Peter Pan" and "Annie" were a huge success, said board member Vangi McCoy.
"It takes a lot of parent support, but we pulled it off," she said.
Lack of storage space for theater props is an obstacle, and finding teachers to help is a challenge because they are already "maxed out," Thurston said.
It was suggested that storage issues could be solved with portable shipping containers that cost $3,000 used. The rest would be fueled by imagination and student enthusiasm for acting.
"There is a lot of energy behind this, and where there is a will there is a way," said Cooper. "Maybe just start out by having plays quarterly. It is an opportunity to have an event for people to come out to the school."