SM West's Eric Magnus named Theater Teacher of the Year

SM West's Eric Magnus named Theater Teacher of the Year
Shawnee Mission School District

Student performers and stage crews from Shawnee Mission North, South, West, and Northwest gathered for three days in Wichita to learn new skills, watch live performances, and grow as actors during the 2024 Kansas Thespian Festival.

Junior Phoebe Scala is a stage manager at Shawnee Mission West and has been working on the tech crew since her sophomore year of high school. She says the festival taught her new tips and tricks when it comes to putting together a show.

“I went to a bunch of tech workshops,” Scala said. “I learned some fun things like how to preserve a wig, but I also learned how to be a better stage manager. I was taught how to be better at that and give people freedoms, as well as staying on what I was supposed to be doing as a stage manager.”

Students also got the opportunity to audition for colleges. Shawnee Mission Northwest senior Rose Cox took the opportunity to show off her skills in technical theater to college scouts. 

 “I did a technical portfolio presentation for a panel of colleges,” Cox said. “After all of the colleges saw the presentations they made a callback list of the people that they wanted to give more info to and or offer them scholarships on the spot.”

Cox made the call-back list, after high school plans on double majoring in technical theater and secondary mathematics education, so she says this was a great opportunity to learn about colleges where she could pursue both.

Shawnee Mission West theater teacher Eric Magnus was named 2023’s Theater Teacher of the Year for Region Two after 33 years of teaching theater.

“I'm very grateful and honored to have been recognized.  It's a nice way to cap off a career,” Magnus stated. 

Magnus is set to retire at the end of the semester.