The New Bedford High School Drama Club took an unconventional approach to put on a production this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students were granted an opportunity to bring the performance to the audience in the comfort and safety of their own homes.

The New Bedford High School Theatre Company will present “The 2021 Film Project,” a collection of short films, produced and performed by its members, thanks to a partnership with Bristol County Media LLC. According to the release, this collection will “showcase three short films, each using a script adapted from a play in the public domain into a working screenplay by the NBHS Drama Club’s directors.”

We reached out to Aaron Cadieux, Owner and Operator of Bristol County Media LLC, for more details on how this project came to life.

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“My cousin, Sarah Cadieux Pacheco, is the Drama Club co-director and advisor at New Bedford High School,” said Cadieux. “She was looking for an alternative to live performances for the theatre students and knew that I was involved with video production. She asked if I thought it was possible to turn what would have been a series of plays into a short series of films as a way for others to view the performances.”

Cadieux usually works on TV commercials and short documentaries, so he doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to work with longer, scripted projects. He signed on to work with his cousin and the students at New Bedford High School on “The 2021 Film Project” and enjoyed the experience.

“I’m the only one who filmed, did the sound, and edited the project,” said Cadieux. “I think the whole thing was spread out over four full days of shooting and all the editing was done over a couple of weeks. It was fun to work with my cousin and the students on this.”

Filming was done at the Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens in New Bedford, as an outdoor location created a safer environment for the actors and crew members. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, no two actors could be in a scene together without masks on. The challenge that the group was presented with was to create the illusion that the characters were speaking directly to each other without being next to one another.

“This had to be shot in a very unique way to adhere to guidelines," said Cadieux. "We were tasked with filming and editing our scenes so that none of the actors can be seen with masks on. We made sure the actor's eye line was in the right direction to imply that someone was standing right next to them even though they were alone.”

Cadieux applauds the drama department and the students who came together to bring this idea to life.

"All the credit goes to them and their creative vision," said Cadieux.

You can view “The 2021 Film Project” online for $7 from Friday, June 11 at 7 pm to Sunday, June 13 at 7 pm.

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