Following in the footsteps of her retired drama teacher and mentor Sue Loudon, Linda Carnevale strives to build life skills and create a family atmosphere for students at the Baldwin High School Performing Arts Center. “Most of my life has really been in the drama room and we pride ourselves on being a family here,” said Carnevale, a 1978 Baldwin grad who has been involved in one time or another with nearly every theatre group on Maui. At Baldwin, she leads the state’s only designated performing arts center on island and teaches drama in what was once the school’s auto mechanics workshop.
Prior to coming to Baldwin in 2005, Carnevale directed drama productions for all ages from kindergarteners to adults, in public and private schools and in theatre groups such as Maui Youth Theatre and Maui Community Theater. “Everybody has creativity in them,” Carnevale said she’s learned about potential performers. “They just need to have a safe environment where they can risk and let their imagination fly.” Carnevale said her goal is not to train Broadway stars, but to teach students that they can perform if they work hard at it. “Remember this is education. There are kids who are going to walk into the drama room without the perfect talent but they have the desire and wherewithal.”
Carnevale directs the performing arts center with a small budget that allows her to hire a choreographer, master carpenter and music director. Aside from directing the students and ensuring that music royalties are paid, she oversees publicity, programs, props and costumes. She said she relies on families and parents of students to help and grow with their student in drama. “It’s a good opportunity for moms and dads to spend time with their kids and see them shine,” Carnevale said. The drama room, Carnevale said, “is a home away from home.” Students learn to act and sing, build sets and sew their own costumes. “Not only will you learn about the magic of theatre, you will learn about working as an ensemble and about yourself.”