Who We Are 2017-05-17T02:14:23+00:00


To provide the students of Manchester High School the opportunity to perform, produce, and experience quality theatrical presentations. To provide the students of Manchester High School the opportunity to perform, produce, and experience quality theatrical presentations.


The Lancer Theatre Company is a student organization which builds, technically supports, performs and produces 3 shows a year while providing a fun social and team-work oriented environment for students, as well as being a gateway into the International Thespian Society.

Many Manchester High alumni may log onto this website having been students in the theatre program when it was called the Triptych Players.  When I arrived in 1999, Manchester (High) Drama (Department) was the name appearing at the top of most of the show posters.  I ran across one poster with Triptych Players at the top and inquired as to the significance of the name.  The only information that I was able to gather was that the extracurricular body of the theatre program was once called the Triptych Players but no one could tell me about its history or traditions.  I did not want to stamp out the history of the program, I wanted to brand it.

I wanted to come up with a name that embodied the sense of professionalism that I had begun to instill into the students that made up this extracurricular branch.  My previous experiences led me to believe that if I could make Theatre Company stick, it would separate the program from the high school environment and give the students a sense of membership in a more professional organization rather than a club.  I also wanted to establish it as part of Manchester High School.  My students and I came up with The Lancer Theatre Company.  It was perfect.  It sounded professional yet maintained its connection to the school; however, the community would not recognize this name on posters and road signs.

For about 3 years we painstakingly painted the long form of the name, Manchester High School’s Lancer Theatre Company, on every sign.  Having established the name, LANCER THEATRE COMPANY, we still place Manchester High on the road signs so that the general public will know where to see the performance.

armadilloSome traditions never die.  Like the students that I teach, I too am a traditionalist.  Sometime long before I arrived at Manchester, a ceramic armadillo made an appearance in every show.  Loving the idea, I have continued to foster this little fellow’s illustrious career.  If you attend any of our shows, look for him!  He is always in plain view without upstaging the action.   A few years ago, he was inducted into our International Thespian Society troupe.  Sadly, he has never been given a proper name.  If you have ideas, please send them to me or to anyone associated with the program.

Each Season we open with a production in December followed by an evening of student-directed one act plays in late January or early February and we close with a full length musical in the spring.  Each production runs for 3 consecutive nights (Thursday-Saturday) unless otherwise listed.

Lancer Theatre Leaders

CARY NOTHNAGELDirector/Sponsor
Cary Nothnagel is currently in his 18th season at the helm of the Lancer Theatre Company. Nothnagel or “Noth,” to which he is fondly referred by his students, started out co-teaching and directing with his mentor, colleague and friend Carol Halbert—now happily retired. Having fallen in love with this art form due to the inspiring influence of his former high school theatre teacher, Edwin S. Jacob (Great Bridge High School), Nothnagel received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech—Go Hokies! He taught theatre and built the theatre program at Oscar F. Smith High School in Chesapeake before arriving at Manchester. Cary has worked as a professional actor, stage manager, technical director and scenic designer in Hampton Roads and in the Richmond area. He has worked for the Virginia Stage Company, SPARC, Henrico Theatre Company, The Theatre Company at Fort Lee, Swift Creek Mill, and the Festival of Arts at Dogwood Dell. He recently served on the board for VTA (Virginia Theatre Association) as the Technical Division Chair and is a member of AATE (American Alliance of Theatre and Education). His favorite quote (shamelessly stolen from his former high school theatre teacher): A show is only as strong as its weakest link.
I have been married to “Noth” for twelve years in February. I got caught up in this crazy theatre world quickly after saying “I do” and absolutely love it! LTC is a unique melting pot with very talented and dedicated students and adults – a family really that reaches current students as well as alumni. I consider it a blessing to have found what has been called by a student, “The best hidden secret at Manchester High School”.

Originally I am from WV and very proud of my mountain roots. In fact, my unique accent has helped my husband many times as I taught the dialect to students when the “country twang” was needed. Quite honestly, I have always had a love for the arts. To many people’s surprise I actually have an artistic background as I majored in Art and Marketing from Radford University. Later I received my Masters in Elementary and Secondary Education (School Counseling) from Old Dominion University. I have worked at Manchester High School as a School Counselor for 16 years. It is where I met my talented husband and where our twin sons, Truman and Trenton, attended and were active in LTC throughout their high school career until they graduated in June 2016. Manchester is a home to us and we all are extremely proud to be a part of such a wonderful school.

ERIC PIOCHVolunteer/Board Member
Eric Pioch has worked at Manchester High School as an English teacher for ten year​s​ and has worked with the Lancer Theater Company for seven​ of those years​. Mr. Pioch has taught Introductory theater classes for ​Manchester High School and ​has ​worked with technical theater within the company. Mr. Pioch has also had the opportunity to artistically co-direct with Mr. Nothnagel ​on the show Sixteen Tons. Currently, as a board member, Mr. Pioch assists with the board strategies and organization and helps with “the front of the house” during shows. At Eastern Michigan University, ​Mr.Pioch was a member of the EMU theatre program and would go on to​ earn his teaching certification in English​,​ Communication and Theater Arts.
BEV HICKMANCostumer/Volunteer/Board Member Emeritus
PAUL WEILANDStage Crew Sponsor
Paul Weiland is happy and excited to start his first season as part of the Lancer Theater Company, acting as the Stage Crew Sponsor. When not making sure his Stage Crew students can still do basic math on their hands, Paul teaches in the Social Studies Department covering World Histories I and II.

With a face for backstage, Paul has been a lifelong stage crew member. He has worked extensively from his High School days building, painting and otherwise maintaining normal human symmetry while working with power tools and other sharp objects. In addition, Paul worked under carpenter extraordinaire, best friend, and rhythmic drummer Brendan Flaherty while studying History at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Working WCU Theater Department, Paul served as an effect tool and thing builder on shows ranging from Assassins to A Midsummer’s Night Dream. He is extremely honored to be a part of this extraordinary organization and looks forward to many seasons working with such an talented group of students.

BETH KOBUSVolunteer/Board Member
Bio Coming Soon
KEVIN HUGHESVolunteer/Board Member
Bio Coming Soon
SUSAN HUGHESVolunteer/Treasurer
Bio Coming Soon




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