With Kitsilano Secondary School undergoing a major rebuild, drama teacher Ryan Parker was facing a problem - how was he going to mount a major theatrical production without an auditorium in which to perform? With some creative thinking, he and English teacher Scott Ramsay came up with an idea to have their students produce a television show instead. The result is Focus, a ten-part series that will be shown in a major cinema in Vancouver later this month.
Focus is a look inside the minds of high school students. Its storylines examine the sometimes drastic difference between how individuals perceive themselves and how others perceive them. The writing team wanted to be as true to life as possible so they tackled some very serious themes. The show opens in the aftermath of a death, but the audience doesn't know whose. The episodes were filmed at locations all over Vancouver including the train station, the airport, a night club and Queen Elizabeth Park at dawn.
More than 150 Kits' students and staff were involved in the production. The key writers, directors and actors were chosen through auditions, and although senior kids have many of the larger roles, students from every grade participated. Some had no dramatic experience when they joined the production while others had lots of knowledge about theatre stage craft, photography or writing.
The production began taking shape at the beginning of the school year and has been going on all through the year. There was a lot of class time devoted to it, but also countless hours after school and on weekends. In fact, some cast and crew members are still hard at work finishing up the final episodes before Focus' gala debut at the Rio theatre on May 12th. The trailer can be seen on Youtube.