The Hollister High School Theatre Department invites the community to join them next weekend for a terror-ifically fun time at their 6th Annual Haunted Theatre.
The annual HHS Tiger Theatre Company Fundraiser will take place on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22, from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Admission into the Haunted Theatre is $5 per person.
Hollister High School Theatre Department Director Kyle Bradley shared hosting this spooky fundraiser has become sort of a tradition for the theatre department.
“We’re really excited to present it again. It’s an opportunity for the students in our department and the leaders in our department to present a completely student led event. They put together the ideas and they cast fellow peers and students in it and we present our best attempt at a legit haunted house in the school,” Bradley said. “We use the commons and the hallways and especially the theatre and all the different nooks and crannies we have. We set up different vibes in each space with whatever the theme is of that year. This year our theme is history’s horrors, so they’re choosing different events in times in history to present something spooky to hopefully scare some people as they come through.”
Preparation for this year’s event began approximately two months ago when they started brainstorming about the theme for the year.
“Once we decide on our ideas, I allow my theatre company officers to host auditions. We open that up to anybody in middle school and high school that might be interested in being a part of it,” Bradley said. “After auditions we get together and start to meet in specific groups where people have been assigned in the haunted house specifically. Once our ideas get closer to becoming reality, we have a couple of dress rehearsals the week of and have a Friday and Saturday night event that we put on for the public.”
Bradley reminisced on the theme for the 2022 Haunted Theatre and how it led to this year’s idea.
“Last year we did movies. We focused on different movies that could be twisted and turned in a dark direction. That was a fun opportunity for them to take things like Jumanji and Pirates of the Caribbean. There was a creepy Wizard of Oz that they tried to do and that was an interesting take I think on that,” Bradley said. “This year they’re excited to present some different eras and times in history. I think that should be interesting for the folks that come through to be scared and enjoy that part of it and maybe get a little bit of a history lesson of the way somehow.”
Bradley explained the inspiration for a haunted theatre fundraiser came from a combination of places.
“We had heard of some other schools and different departments like an Ag department at another school had hosted a haunted theatre and they found it was a really good fundraiser for them. I had been a part of one in college and it really turned out to be a great opportunity to raise some funds for our department,” Bradley said. “It turned out people were really excited to come and be a part of it. I think in October and in the spooky season people like to go to haunted houses. It was something that brought in a large portion of the public and it was a great opportunity to raise some funds.”
With the monies raised during the event, Bradley shared they’re able to do more as a theatre company throughout the entire school year.
“This year, just like last year we’re going to do three main stage productions. We’re going to do a fall play, a winter play and then a spring musical. Just the rights for all those shows we’re doing proves to be a lot of funding that we did, then costuming all those students and lighting and sound and just everything that it requires to put on a production can really add up. Just having a big fundraiser like this at the beginning of the year really helps us get all the way through the year and be able to do everything that we want to do.”
In order to pull off this large-scale fundraiser, Bradley said they’ve got a total of 45 students participating in all aspects of the event.
“We have students who run our front of the house and check groups in and run concessions and read off our rules and regulations that we expect,” Bradley said. “Then we have a bunch of students who are inside the event that are in crazy costumes and makeup and jumping out and scaring you along the way.”
As young actors, Bradley shared how this event gives them the chance to stretch themselves and experience new challenges.
“I think they really enjoy the chance to express themselves creatively in that way. We have so many students who come out and auction for it, that don’t necessarily want to be a part of a musical or a play, but they want to be theatrical and they find this is their outlet for that,” Bradley said. “It’s just become an event that draws a lot of students in, that are interested in expressing creativity through makeup and costumes and characters that are out of what the norm would be.”
The Haunted Theatre is being held inside the Hollister High School, which is located at 2112 St. Highway BB in Hollister. Admission is $5 per person, cash only, at the door. Groups will be limited to five people and group sign in will begin at 8:30 p.m.
For additional information visit the HHS Haunted Theatre 2022 event page on Facebook.