In our performing arts program, we do not teach performance; we create a forum guided by skilled and experienced mentors in which students can experience the creation of performance. Dance, drama, songwriting, circus, and musical performance are created by the students. Every year every student participates and collaborates with others in the performance productions, as part of the required curriculum. Students are involved in every aspect of performances. Students climb ladders to adjust the stage lighting and operate the lights during a performance. They design and alter costume dresses that they will wear in a show. They play the instruments to provide musical accompaniment for a play.
Our experienced performing arts faculty work with interested students between classes, on weekends, and in conversations in the hallway, helping and encouraging them in whatever way they need. The relationships outside the classroom make the difference between just having classes and having a forum conducive to the creation of quality performance.
Dance, Act, Sing, Perform, Produce
Our theatre arts program is unusual in that every student in every grade is part of a play each year. In all productions, students take on the on-stage roles, but also the majority of the back-stage, work, creating costumes, building the set, working the lighting, and managing the back stage.
In ninth grade students participate in the Comedy and Tragedy four-week long block intensive, in which they learn the history of theatre and the basics of acting and production, culminating in a performance of a play.
In tenth grade, in the Studies in World Theater intensive four-week long block, students gain a broad understanding of performance styles through history and across the world. They choose to produce a play from a variety of genres, possibly a French farce, a commedia dell’arte work, a Greek tragedy, or a modern drama.
In the eleventh grade students take on the timeless works of William Shakespeare. Over the course of the four week Shakespeare intensive, they immerse themselves in the language, themes and challenges of bringing the Bard to the stage: determination, strength, vulnerability, and a willingness to break out of their own comfortable personas.
As seniors, our students choose their own play, usually a true ensemble piece, often a comedy or musical, to offer as a gift to the rest of the school on graduation weekend.
The whole-school spring musical and the yearly Nativity pageant offer theatre-loving students opportunities to audition for roles and participate in a production at a grand scale.