In their first in-person performance since the Palo Alto High School theater program shut down due to the coronavirus 18 months ago, student actors will be presenting a new show from Sept. 24 to Sept. 27 outdoors on campus.

The show, titled “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” will be a collection of scenes from famous Shakespearean plays and will be set outdoors where the audience will move from location to location led by student actors. 

Last school year, the pandemic prevented students from performing in the PAC and Haymarket Theater, so the program staged six virtual performances through Zoom, theater teacher Sarah Thermond said. This year, students are preparing in-person plays while still being mindful of COVID restrictions.

“I’m really proud of what we were able to do last year and feel that the students gave excellent performances online, but there is nothing like having a live audience respond to your jokes, the script’s surprises and cool design choices,” Thermond said. “I’m excited for that interaction to happen again.”


“I’m really proud of what we were able to do last year and feel that the students gave excellent performances online, but there is nothing like having a live audience respond to your jokes, the script’s surprises and cool design choices. I’m excited for that interaction to happen again.”

— Sarah Thermond, theater teacher


According to Thermond, her troupe optimized the viewing experience and the safety of the audience by designing the show to be shortened and set outdoors.

“In between, you are traveling in a small audience group to four different locations, so it will be easy for folks to distance based on their own comfort and avoid mixing with lots of other households if that makes them uncomfortable,” Thermond said. “Our actors will be unmasked, but they will be distanced from each other and the audience.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the school still faces COVID-19 restrictions and consequent challenges. 

“I’m a little nervous to see what the outcome of the final performance will be [because of the uncertainties of COVID protocols],” senior and performer Nila Nag said.

Nonetheless, the cast is excited to finally prepare and display in-person plays.

“Being back in the theater all together for our first rehearsal felt amazing,” junior Rebecca Helft said. “It had been so long so it was really nice to be back with everyone doing what we love.”

Paly Theatre is also preparing for its November production, “The Illusion,” which will take place inside the Performing Arts Center.

Tickets for “Something Wicked This Way Comes” are available here.