Lights, Camera, Action!

Emma Derr is taking the stage for senior spotlight


Kamryn Nichols

Theatre prodigy Emma Derr goes above and beyond in her performances

Solily San Miguel, Staff Writer

When most people think of “well-rounded” they don’t think theater has anything to do with that.

For senior Emma Derr, theater has been her life and has made a huge impact on her. 

Twenty shows in nine years.

Starting with the role of a ‘star-fish’ from a play in fourth grade, Emma began her journey in school and community theater. 

In the fifth grade Derr performed at the Performing Arts of San Antonio (PASA). Throughout the years she participated in performances such as “Flapper,” “Wizard of Oz”, “Legally Blonde Jr”, “Speakeasy” and “Hotel Transylmania”. 

Theater in general can have a lot of benefits, for Emma, she met new people and grew friendships.

“It’s the most fun you’ll ever have, with the best friends you’ll ever make,” Derr said. “Creating memories that will last with you forever.”

For how much fun theater is, nothing goes without struggles. 

“Miss Vaughn, our director, was a crabby washed up commercial actress who, I believe, loved yelling at children. I was in constant fear that she would scream in my face, even if I knew I didn’t do anything. Almost every night I would sob and ball because I would be late on an entrance. One time she yelled at me for having to miss a rehearsal,” Derr said. “She had me contemplating if I should even continue with theater and musicals.”  

After dealing with the stress of her old director, Emma wanted to try out for her school’s production theater team.

“I decided to try out for theater in high school, and if it was anything like PASA, I would leave,” Derr said. “Thankfully, production at SV would flip my perspective around and fuel my passion for theater again.” 

Production theater creates a whole new focus on performing, they go through a competition season like every other UIL sport or class.  

The UIL competition consists of five schools competing against each other with 40 minute plays. The six stages include zone, district, bi-district, area, region and state. 

These performances matter the most. Being criticized on acting, costumes, and set. 

“When the curtains open at a one act play competition, I am scared to no end. Knowing the work we’re about to display is being criticized and critiqued down to every word and movement is terrifying,” Derr said. “When it’s in front of judges who probably don’t even want to be there and are looking for all the things to dock you on, all I want to do is cry.” 

To make sure the performance is absolutely perfect, production theater has rehearsals everyday, and Emma is determined to be at all of them.

She proves everyday that she is ready to give her all in every performance. 

“Emma is probably one of the most passionate people in the program. She never complains about her part or rehearsals,” senior Morgan Miller said. “She works very hard for the shows.”

Derr’s theatrical talent and determination has been noticed by her classmates and friends throughout the years.

“Her dedication to theater is so inspiring,” senior Aidenne Despres said. “You can always count on her to give her all into every role that she’s in. She has always stood out on stage as the person with the most energy and passion.” 

Theater is an interactive class, you have to learn to be comfortable with yourself and with the people around you.

“I like her being in theater because she brings new and vibrant energy to everything she does. She’s so nice and carries the power she holds with grace.” senior Chaya Powell said. “Her energy is always so big and people gravitate towards her.” 

Derr’s dedication is going to a new level when she  graduates, as she plans on using her theatrical skills to pursue her career. 

“I want to be somewhat of a personal figure, public speaker, educator, news anchor; anything that involves making a difference within the public relations profession,” Derr said. “Theater has improved my speaking skills by a million, and has taught me that no matter what you do on a stage, as long as you go completely full out, people will love it.”

Derr plans to earn a degree in communications with a focus in public relations. As well as minor in theater/musical theater. 

She hopes to become someone who can use her voice to make a difference.

“The size of the audience doesn’t matter,” Derr said. “it’s who’s out there that counts.”