Behind the Curtain: Presenting the 2023-2024 Theatre Producers

Over the weekend, the Andover Theatre and Dance Department made an important shift in preparation for the upcoming year, welcoming its new generation of Theatre Producers for 2023-2024. Sebastian Cynn ’24, Simi Gandhi ’24, Matt Wasilewski ’24, Ivy Randall ’25, and Alicia Zhang ’24 will be a vital part of next year’s Theatre and Dance Department, coordinating the DramaLabs performances each term and running Grasshopper with the Dance Producers every fall. Below, each Producer delves into their reflections of performance art and overall aspirations for Andover theater.

Sebastian Cynn ’24:
“Theater has been an integral part of my life for a really long time… It’s a community that I’m so proud to be a part of, and I’m hopeful that I get to bring that to more people and be able to include as many people as I possibly can in it…. For me, my performance background emphasizes the need to make the DramaLabs community [and] the need to build something that makes people feel supported. [So] that even when you’re on stage—which is something that is so inherently stressful—just having a bunch of people there who support each other [and] make each other feel safe and comfortable performing… I think one thing that I want to see is a return in many ways to this idea of it being more talent show-oriented because I know in the last few years, it’s definitely leaned much more into theater.”

Simi Gandhi ’24:
“I wanted to be a Producer because there were so many people who helped me find myself as an artist, and I would really like to challenge other people to do the same. A lot of what I’ve learned in theater is very applicable to my life. I’ve developed skills such as resistance and work ethic from the theater, so I would really like to help people develop those skills as well. That would be really special to me…. I feel that theater has such a potential to help people find who they are, and I would love for kids to do that while connecting with an audience, while telling a story, because everyone has their own stories to tell.”

Matt Wasilewski ’24:
“I was inspired to apply to be a Producer because I had wanted to get more involved with the theater department here at [Andover]. I was a part of tech crew for all three years of middle school and have taken a few theater classes here at [Andover], but I thought being a Producer would really allow me to experience what [Andover] has to offer… The DramaLabs provide a space for students of Andover to continue to pursue their interests in theater, whether it be acting or directing or sometimes even writing their own play. They also are a great space for students to take risks and try something that they haven’t done before and we encourage everybody to try the DramaLabs out.”

Alicia Zhang ’24:
“I’ve been doing theater for a really long time, and it has had such a huge impact on my life. So when I came to [Andover] I knew I really wanted to do DramaLabs and wanted to continue to do theater from middle school…. I just wanted to apply to be a Producer because I wanted to be able to bring theater to more people and to involve more people with theater… I’m really looking forward to working with everyone, because it’s such an awesome group of people, and I am just really excited to get more people into theater.”

Ivy Randall ’25:
“I take pride in being a Producer, and to me, it’s putting my all into making the theater community at Andover something that can be a home for everybody—and also, of course, putting on shows that we’re proud of, holding events that everyone in the cast feels happy with, feels a pride to perform, and [that] everyone in the audience is happy to watch… I think [DramaLabs are] an opportunity for people who might not be as involved with Andover theater, might not know if Andover theater is a place for them…. But if they’re hesitant to audition for a major production or if they don’t have enough time in their schedule to be in a major production, it is an opportunity to try it out and get that feeling of being part of a cast, being part of a team, and performing with a group of people, which I think is very fulfilling.”