Despite pandemic, full steam ahead for Theatre on the Hill


Carli Wilkerson

Senior Thatch Rudolph, playing the role of Jacob Marley, lurches over Ebenezer Scrooge’s bed.

On Dec. 9, Theatre on the Hill premiered their take on Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol. The story depicts a grumpy old man by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge who hates Christmas and the holidays; however, his attitude is soon changed after he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

Theatre on the Hill, an extracurricular theatre group run by theatre teacher Carli Wilkerson, performs multiple shows a year, and after an extended pause due to Covid-19, Theatre on the Hill has hit the ground running in the 2021-2022 season.

“I would like to continue to do [as many] shows [as possible],” Wilkerson said. “I think doing two shows in the fall is really great, it kept us all busy, and also it gave two of my seniors a really cool opportunity to direct.” 

For A Christmas Carol, Wilkerson believes that the program’s students played an important role in the play’s development.

“They took a classic tale and turned it into something really beautiful,” Wilkerson said. 

Junior Cassidy Gunter valued the experience and would like to continue spending time on stage.

“You could tell everyone in the cast cared and wanted to put on the best show they could,” Gunter said.  “There are a plethora of plays and even musicals I would love to be a part of.”

Sophomore Gabriela Paredes-Hernandez, who worked on the stage management team for A Christmas Carol enjoyed seeing the production from a different point of view.

“[I] did the fog machine and anything backstage,” Paredes-Hernandez said. “I had tons of fun seeing the behind-the-scenes, and it’s just really incredible to meet such talented people.”

Theatre on the Hill has been a great place for students to interact, and be creative and collaborative with each other during the uncertainty of the last two years, and a tremendous amount of energy has been put into keeping the program alive.

“Coming back into this school year after such a weird 2020-2021 season, I was so ready to put on theatre again, and so were the kids,” Wilkerson said. “I am incredibly grateful to be back directing shows the way they’re meant to be seen, and I know the kids are glad to be back too.”

Wilkerson and her students are currently working on The Night Witches, a one act show which will be performed for the Virginia High School League’s One Act competition in Feb.

Their next main stage performance at Clover Hill is Fiddler on the Roof, which premieres on April 28 and runs through April 30.