Vivian Tao ’21 has acted, directed and helped lead the Nobles Theatre Collective since arriving at Nobles. Vivian found yet one more way to  share creativity and passion to benefit the NTC: by building a microsite celebrating recent productions and highlighting. Here, Vivian shares the how and why of her recent project, which is accessible at

1) Describe your connection to and work with the Nobles Theatre Collective (NTC) and its impact on your Nobles experience.
I’ve participated in the NTC Collective for 10 afternoon program seasons and was also in the summer production of Spring Awakening. I’ve taken on a variety roles, including tech, acting, assistant directing and stage management. I’ve also come to the club meetings since freshman year, and am now a co-president. I would say that the NTC really helped me adjust to the Nobles community as a freshman, and I enjoy bonding with other students over a shared passion for theater. Theater is really important because of its ability to reach an audience, and I am grateful for the opportunities to reach the Nobles community in this way.

2) You recognized how strong imagery could have impact on students and families— especially those who were considering Nobles and interested in the arts. What was your goal in building a microsite to highlight the work of the NTC?

I first thought about creating a website when I noticed that they started displaying photos outside of Vinik and the shop. I was especially intrigued by the old photos of students who graduated way before I came to Nobles. I found that it sort of gave me a peek into what theater was like when they were at Nobles. I thought of how another theater group that I participate in had pictures from past shows, but Nobles didn’t. I kind of thought about how I felt looking at those photos from that other theater group: when it was a show I was a part of, it brought back fond memories from the production process. When it was a show I wasn’t apart of, the photos drew me in: I was curious and engaged. Those two feelings are what I hope the website evokes in the viewer. For alumni/current students, I hope the website can bring back positive memories. For prospective students, I hope it gives them a feel for what theater is like at Nobles. Personally when I was applying, I had no idea what Nobles theater was like.

3) Talk about the development process and why you wanted to build this site from scratch.
So sophomore spring I completed an online course in web development, and then I created a full-stack website for practice over the summer. I was eager to take on another ambitious web development project, which is why I wanted to build the website from scratch. There is an argument to be made for using website builders such as Wix or Weebly, but one huge downside to them is that the loading times tend to be slower. Though it is more convenient to use a website builder, but I had the skills and the time to build it from scratch.

4) Can you speak to what was technically most challenging?
There is an “edit mode” which allows for someone with a secret passcode to create/edit/delete galleries. I had a lot of trouble with implementing the image upload feature. There were many issues: it could only upload one at a time, it uploaded too slowly, in the wrong order. I used this image upload API called Cloudinary and spent a lot of my time reading the documentation. When I really struggled, I actually DMed the company account on Facebook and a representative responded and helped me work through a lot of my issues.

5) What about the new NTC site or the process are you most proud of? What did you learn?
I think I’m proud of the whole process, of how I saw a problem within my community and was able to build a solution. I also love that I learned a lot along the way—image upload for example. There is honestly too much that I learned to list it all here, but I think one of the most prominent examples is ES6 Javascript syntax and functions. Before, I had been coding in ES5 Javascript which was kind of outdated, in this project I made the switch to the newer version and learned more advanced Javascript such as async/await functions and Promises as well (this actually came from figuring out the solution to the image upload problem!) Learning ES6 Javascript was super useful because I’ll be able to use it outside of web development.


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