Scripts Written for Rochester High School Donated to Library

Doug and Elizabeth West Celebration National Publication With Gift 


When students at Rochester High School started the school year this week, they had some new selections at their school library.

Doug and Elizabeth West, the duo behind the high school’s theater productions, donated bound copies of four scripts written by Elizabeth West for Rochester High School’s theater department. The donation included two copies each of “Rosie the Riveter,” “The Pied Piper,” “The Buccaneer Bride” and “Christmas Carole”.

Last year, "Rosie the Riveter" (produced by Rochester High School in May 2017) and "Pied Piper" (produced by Rochester High School in May 2019) were selected to be published by Drama Notebook for Educational Performance, making them available to drama teachers nationwide. 

Drama Notebook provides the scripts in a digital format, so the Wests bound the copies themselves, adding photos from RHS productions of the show. It was partially to celebrate the Drama Notebook publication that the Wests made the donation to the high school.

“And our actors kept encouraging us to do this,” Elizabeth West noted.

Elizabeth West started writing pieces for RHS students to keep the cost of producing theater at the high school of about 625 students to a minimum. The rights to many popular shows can cost thousands of dollars. The Wests explained that many mainstream shows feature only one or two main characters and they wanted to be able to involve as many students as possible in productions.

“It was to fit our students and to show off the talent we had,” Doug West explained of tailoring shows to each year’s student talent.

Michael Smith, Rochester High School principal, said one of his main focuses for the RHS school community is on recognizing student accomplishments in a variety of areas. Programming at the south Thurston County community school is student-led and emphasizes a variety of talents and interests, including a strong Future Farmers of America program as well as a robotics team that took first in nationals last year. Smith praised the dedication and passion that the Wests bring to the theater department.

“We have so many kids who have real talents here,” Smith said. “It’s important to recognize them and the staff who support them.”

Jennifer Bethman, who joined the Rochester School District this year as superintendent, was also on hand to accept the donated scripts. She noted that connecting students to school in more ways than just academics is an important part of successful schools.

“I think it’s important to find things that connect students to school,” she said. “We want to connect the work they do here to real life and careers and find ways to connect them to their interests.”

Besides providing a chance for dozens of RHS students to take the stage each year, Davina Serdahl, activities coordinator for Rochester High School, noted that the RHS theater productions also include a great deal of work for Doug West’s stagecraft class.

“For those kids that aren’t confident going out on the stage, they still have ownership of that play.”

The RHS fall theater production will be a stage adaptation of the motion picture “Alien,” which will include RHS’s new assistant principal, Heather Brooks, puppeteering a larger-than-life mother alien. 

Elizabeth West said she is also working on another original production for the RHS spring production called “Goldie,” which will be an unconventional story of Goldilocks.