Earth Journal: “Once Upon a Mattress”


My name is Mariah Scheer, and I am a Senior at Gifft Hill School on St. John.

Since the age of 10, I have acted in nine theater performances on the island and at The New England Youth Theatre in Vermont. My first three theater productions were with the Epiphany Theater Company and the St. John School of the Arts. The last six productions were with The New England Youth Theater (NEYT) company from Brattleboro, Vermont.

This company, made up of professional teachers and performers and directed by Stephen Stearns, visits St. John every January and April to put on a full melodrama show in just a few weeks with a group of Gifft Hill School students during our minimester classes.

During each annual two-week minimester, I’ve learned skills necessary to perform in front of a large audience. Also I have developed my voice and acting skills through techniques that Stearns and the NEYT family teach.

There is no better feeling than getting ready to perform on stage. The mix of emotions that one has to deal with is eventually overcome by the amount of confidence from the time and effort one has put in to the show.

I love the feeling of performing and actually having the mind of the character I am portraying. Acting has opened up new windows for me to grow as a person and become who I am today, a fearless and confident actress and human being. With this being my last year to perform in the GHS theater production, I plan to continue to act in plays during college.

For this year’s theater performance, my peers and I am excited to be performing “Once Upon A Mattress,” a musical retelling of “The Princess and The Pea.” I will be playing the overly comedic and overbearing Queen Aggravain. I hope you can come support me and my fellow students in this funny, engaging play.

The performance dates are Friday, January 11, at 7 p.m. and January 12 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Gifft Hill School. Tickets are a suggested donation of $5 for kids and $10 for adults. And for those of you who are interested, there is a limited-seating farm to table tasting prior to the opening night show.  

As the culmination of another minimester program, a collaboration between the EARTH Program, Culinary Arts Class students and Chef Mathayom Vacharat will create delicious, locally grown tasters for you to enjoy.

You will hear from the student chefs about their experience of growing, harvesting and cooking these yummy creations.

This limited capacity tasting will be followed by the opening of “Once Upon a Mattress.” Tasting guests will enjoy reserved VIP seating for the performance and ticket cost is $75 per person. To RSVP email