Welcome to Drama
I tried out on a whim after seeing Grease. It was humbling to be cast as C.D. Bales in the production of Roxanne. The Tri-School students were very supportive of each other. It was great to be in a Tri-School activity that connects the generations.- Matthew penner '16
Tri-School Productions, a partnership between Serra and our sister schools, Notre Dame (Belmont) and Mercy (Burlingame), offers the best of both worlds to high school students who are interested in the performing arts.
From Footloose to Grease, Macbeth to The Diary of Anne Frank, Tri-School Productions students shine on stage and unleash their creativity by participating in the fall play and/or the spring musical. There are numerous opportunities to act, sing, dance and help by building sets, sewing costumes, and working on lighting and sound.
Check out the photos below from Tri-School Productions presentation of William Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
History of Serra's Drama Program
The drama program at Serra has a rich history dating back to the late 1940s. In those days, it was a tradition for the graduating class to stage a senior play, despite what must have been meager resources and facilities. Find out more by clicking on the tabs below.
- The Gellert Auditorium
- Two Shows a Year
- Tri-School Productions is Born
- The Gypsy Robe
- The Modern Era
When Serra moved to its present location on 20th Avenue, the building included a fully equipped theater, complete with an orchestra pit and a projection booth with two 16mm carbon-arc movie projectors. Over the years, the theater has served as Serra's primary performance venue. It hosts school assemblies, concerts, community events all drama productions. Recent theatrical lighting and sound upgrades have enabled Tri-School Productions students to participate in notably ambitious productions. The theater was renamed The Carl Gellert Auditorium in 2005.
Beginning in 1972, with Phil Garay at the helm, Serra students and girls from local high schools performed in two shows per year. During the 1970s, it was not uncommon to see a faculty member or two on stage, or even a local college student. Since 1977, the cast has been limited to students from Serra, Notre Dame and Mercy.
In 1988, Serra joined forces with Mercy and Notre Dame to add Tri-School classes and extracurricular activities. After two years of ironing out the logistics, West Side Story was the first Tri-School musical in 1990. Fall plays remained Serra productions until 2007, when Up the Down Staircase became the first fall play produced under the Tri-School Productions name. Many of Broadway's biggest hits come to life on the Serra stage during that decade. In 2001, Tri-School Productions celebrated its 10-year anniversary with Somewhere Together, a Decade in Review, which was a trip down memory lane featuring 33 musical numbers from the 11 shows staged between West Side Story in 1990 and Grease in 2000.
The gypsy robe is a symbol of good luck among Broadway chorus members who call themselves "gypsies" because of the transient nature of their work. This distinction is awarded to a member of the chorus–not a lead actor–who represents the positive spirit of the production. The opening night ceremony of awarding a decorated dressing gown to a selected chorus member began in 1950 with a dancer named Bill Bradley. Tri-School Productions members awarded the first gypsy robe in 2001.
Tri-School Productions has become an astonishing, innovative force in high school musical theater. Tri-School Productions was the first high school program on the Peninsula to showcase Les Miserables, the first in the entire San Francisco Bay Area to be granted rights to Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and the first to stage Elton John's and Tim Rice's Aida. With an increasing number of students pursuing acting and technical theater as future careers, Tri-School Productions has proven that cooperation and dedication to excellence can result in magic.