Evan Barnard had a unique idea for his Eagle Scout project; so much so that getting approval to proceed with the project was among its weightier challenges.
“Most Eagle Scout projects are building things, but I’m not good at building things,” said Evan, a sophomore at North Surry High School.
What Evan is good at is theater, and he hit upon the idea of writing a play that he hoped would get kids interested in scouting, something he has been involved with since first grade. His plan was to write a one-hour play, produce and direct it, and then perform it at local schools for his target audience.
When Evan presented the idea for his project, it was not immediately approved.
“I got a ‘maybe’,” he said.
They weren’t sure if a project that wasn’t manual labor met the Eagle Scout criteria, according to Evan, and had to consult authorities higher up in the scouting hierarchy.
“They talked to people in Hickory,” said Evan, “and then approved the project. This project was really out there. I thank them for trusting me.”
“I will say that coordinating this project has made me sweat more than physical labor ever has,” Evan added, whose wide-ranging cast includes students from East Surry, North Surry, Surry Early College, Mount Airy Middle, Meadowview Magnet Middle as well as home-schooled kids.
Evan’s play, “Class A: The Story of How Scouting Changed my Life,” is not his first. He wrote a play in eighth grade which was produced at his school where it was seen by Surry County School Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves.
“This would have been an extremely hard sell if he had not seen my eighth grade play,” said Evan, who also credited Director of Elementary Education DeAnne Danley for believing in him.
Evan’s play was performed for fourth and fifth graders at Flat Rock Elementary, and for fifth graders at Franklin Elementary and White Plains Elementary, and will be given a public performance at the Andy Griffith Museum Theater (lower level) on Oct. 6.
Evan said fifth grade was a good target audience as that’s when you can start Boy Scouts, and he wants to get people involved at a young age.
“It’s a comedy intended for kids right before middle school, but it’s not a bunch of slapstick and poop jokes,” Evan said.
Directing his peers, including friends and his brother, was the hardest part of the project, according to Evan. For the play to work, the cast needed to be his peers, and it’s difficult to earn respect from your peers.
“Stepping away from being their friend, getting them to take direction and accept me as their director — including my brother and my best friend — that part was tricky. But in the end, I made it work.”
The public will have a chance to see Evan Barnard’s play, “Class A: The Story of How Scouting Changed my Life” on Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Andy Griffith Museum Theater (lower level). Admission is $5 to help cover production costs, (sets, costumes, scripts, etc.). Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.