PHS students help create spooky scenes

Published 1:11 pm Friday, September 20, 2013

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Entering Warehouse 31 last week, I discovered a seriously creepy work in progress. Luckily, theatre student Kristen Hayes emerged from the ghoulish maze in front of me searching for paint.

Pelham High School theater students help create spooky sets at Pelham's Warehouse 31 on Lee Street. (Contributed)

Pelham High School theater students help create spooky sets at Pelham’s Warehouse 31 on Lee Street. (Contributed)

“I’ll take you back,” Hayes said as she grabbed the bucket.

“I’m glad you found me. I don’t want to brave this place alone—even in broad daylight,” I admitted.

“You’d be fine—unless you wandered into the room with the heads hanging from the ceiling,” she said, grinning over her shoulder at me.

“Beware of the autopsy room too,” shouted one of our PHS kids from a distance. “That one will really spook you!”

I found some of our PHS students creating spooky trees. According to PHS theatre teacher Jamie Stephenson, our kids are tree specialists after constructing the “To Kill a Mockingbird” set.

“Stagecraft is trial and error,” Stephenson said. “We messed up a lot working on that set, so now we’re really good at trees.”

Stephenson was contacted by Warehouse 31 owner Jason Sills. Moving this business from St. Augustine, Fla., Sills faced the huge task of turning the old Marvin’s in Pelham into a frightening experience. When Sills asked around, he heard that the PHS theatre department had great talent.

“Working with the high school kids is great,” Sills said. “They have so much energy. Constructing these sets gives them real-world experience. I see the potential for getting business classes involved next year. Being just down the hill from the school, we want to get the students as involved as possible.”

“The kids are learning to problem solve, think outside of the box, commit to a project and be creative—the things that we are trying to teach them every day at school,” Stephenson said. “We aren’t just creating artists; we are creating well-rounded citizens.”

Working on Warehouse 31 is also a great lesson about real-world deadlines too. On Sept. 27, the doors open to the public.

Be sure to go and see what PHS theatre students have been helping to create at Warehouse 31. For hours and pricing, check out the website at