Middle school years bring mature critical thinking layered into a young mind that wants to try everything and Panther Playhouse is their own after school student theatre company where the participants take ownership of every production. They start the school year making new friends while creating a musical that they will perform in the Lake Washington High School performance art center. In the spring they tackle an original adaptation of a Shakespeare play performed on our own Kirkland Middle School stage.

We want our latent thespians to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits by introducing every aspect of creating a stage performance that there is time to explore. We know mistakes will be made since we regularly extend beyond our comfort zone, but we also know this is the best way to learn and allow the students to make the production their own.

Every Kirkland Middle School student that wishes to participate is welcomed onto the stage, regardless of financial situation. To share our original spring adaptions with as many students as possible, we permit everyone 18 years old or younger to attend our Shakespeare performances for free.

The time between auditions and opening night evaporates in just six weeks. Parents are involved throughout by chaperoning rehearsals and serving on a committee. We provide instructions and guidance so no previous experience is necessary, but the help of student family members is critical to the success of every production.

At the end of every school year I tear up as another class moves on to high school. Fortunately, there is always another amazing group waiting to take their place and I hope that includes a middle school student from your family.

If you or a younger version of you has any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Johnmichael P. Monteith

Performing Arts Educator & Director
Header image is from 2017 production of Elf Jr. The Musical.Director image is tech week in 2021 production of The Amazing Adventures of Superstan.