Up Close: Utah Theater Teacher Uses Recyclable Materials For 50 Costumes

Nov 13, 2019, 6:29 PM | Updated: 8:48 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — You’ve heard the phrase “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but one Utah high school theater teacher is taking that to heart in a new school play about to hit the stage.

“The idea of using essentially garbage is new,” said Liz Smith, who teaches at Bingham High School in South Jordan, about her upcoming play called “Children of Eden.”

The show is based on the stories of Adam and Eve and Noah, but it’s also a story of families, relationships and second chances to create a better world.

“We are bound to repeat the past until we change our present,” said student Casey Sopier.

That message is what motivated Smith to use plastic bottles, containers, cartons and jugs to make headgear for the nearly 50 animal costumes for the show, with many of the supplies coming right from the trash at Bingham High School.

“You never think that you use that much plastic until 30 Bingham kids fill a room with it in a week and a half,” said student Joel Peterson.

Students have collected hundreds of recyclable materials to help make costumes for the show.

“Right now it’s a landfill. I have apologized to my classes every day for weeks that they have to sit in garbage,” Smith said.  “Yet, it’s a small fraction of what is actually going into the garbage’s every day at the school and that we could be doing more.”

The other major benefit of using recyclable materials is financial — it will save Smith about $2,000 in costume costs, which means she can spend that money on other things.

“We can use it for other aspects of the show,” she said.

Bingham High theater teacher Liz Smith during a rehearsal.

Students admitted they were a little skeptical at first.

“At first I thought, is this really going to work?” said student Makenna Ashby.

But as the costumes came together, students became believers.

“It’s turning out amazing and I think it’s just a really cool idea and a different take on what a lot of other productions have done,” Ashby said.

“It’s going to be really cool,” Sopier said.

“The kids are putting so much of their own heart and soul into each of their animals and making it their own and with their personality,” said Smith.

Children of Eden has a cast of more than 40 students and opens at Bingham High School on Friday, Nov. 22 and runs through Tuesday, Nov. 26. For tickets and more information, go here.

Children of Eden has a cast of more than 40 students and opens at Bingham High School on Friday, Nov. 22.

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Up Close: Utah Theater Teacher Uses Recyclable Materials For 50 Costumes