How Katherine Heistand Shields Revived the LOMS Drama Program

By Alana Shields 

March 4, 2024
Katherine Heistand Shields, director of LOMS, with cast of Newsies Jr. 2022

Katherine Heistand Shields, or Ms. K, to the Los Osos Middle School drama students, has been leading the theater program at LOMS for the last 3 seasons. As the new face at LOMS in 2022, she took on the role of drama director in a time of uncertainty. 

In 2021, the previous director, Lynnly Sainsbury put on the production of Frozen Jr. At the time, schools had the option to have kids attend school with a mandatory mask ordination or to continue learning from the safety of their own homes due to the unknown scare of Covid-19. Though for the drama club, both onsite and remote kids could participate in the show. After that school year ended, Sainsbury moved on and the drama program was left without a director and in danger of not existing as a whole. Then came Katherine Heistand Shields. Katherine not only is the director of the drama club at Los Osos Middle School, but she is also the director of design and production for XYZ textbooks / Math TV and a mom. When her daughter was in eighth grade, Katherine became the director of the theater program. During her first year, 2022, the production was Newsies Jr., a captivating story of a young orphan boy and his friends in 1899 New York trying to make money by selling newspapers while fighting the head newspaper publisher, Pulitzer. With a fantastic start and a brilliant production put on by the Los Osos Middle School students, the drama club was reviving itself and all because of Katherine Heistand.

Katherine Heistand Shields, born in Hollywood, California, grew up in Cambria, a small secluded town on the West Coast of California, has done performing arts all her life. Born to wonderful parents, Bill and Nancy Heistand, Katherine grew up with theater already in her. She was inspired by her father, Bill, who grew up participating in theater and in high school performed in popular shows such as Carousel as Billy and Oklahoma as Curly. During her sophomore year, Katherine  joined the drama program, and her first high school production was  Grease. As an ensemble member, she remembers her favorite moment of “being lifted up in the splits center stage on a platform that broke beneath me and the two castmates that were holding me while I was in the air,” Katherine recalled in an interview, “all laughs though as the stage went dark.” In junior year, Katherine was casted as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, and in her senior year she took on the role of Scheherazade in 1001 Arabian Nights. All of these experiences lead to her future job of drama director at LOMS. 

Katherine Heistand Shields has been surrounded by theater all her life and continues to spread her knowledge to the students of Los Osos Middle School with a smile everyday. In the past 3 years, Katherine has directed Newsies Jr., Mary Poppins Jr., and this year's production of Matilda Jr. If you’re interested, performances are May 10-11 at Los Osos Middle School, come dive into the wonders and magical story  of Matilda and see the inspiring women herself, Katherine Heistand Shields.