The focus of all three years of Drama is the development of the individual. Using the categories set forth by Brian Way in his seminal work Development through Drama, each year the Drama classes will provide opportunities for growth in concentration, sensory awareness, imagination, physical self, speech, emotion, and intellect. The central concerns are first to help each individual discover his or her own resources and then to move on to explore the individual’s environment, which demands a conscious relationship with others who inhabit it. Since the primary concerns of drama match the natural development of a student in the passage from childhood into adolescence, this program is an essential Middle School art experience.
- Drama 6: Character & Movement
- Drama 7: Devised Theatre
- Drama 8: The Word in Action (Elective)
- Musical Theater 8 (Elective)
Trimester Course. Grade 6. No prerequisite.
This course gives students an introduction to theater, characters, and storytelling.They will use movement to create characters, situations, and emotional responses. Starting with physical awareness, they play with rhythm, shapes, gestures as a way to express ideas. Then they will explore how to identify and show emotions with facial and body language. There will be units on theater basics, clowning, dance, and conflict. The course places a premium on working with others using basic etiquette skills like listening, sharing space, and resolving conflicts to solve problems. Students begin by working as a large ensemble and then co-create their final piece in small groups or pairs which will later be shared with an audience of teachers and peers.
Mindful awareness practices such as listening, recognizing tension and relaxation, moving mindfully, being still, concentrating focus, following the breath, and walking with awareness, as well as creating positive emotional connection to the present moment, and cultivating feelings of compassion and gratitude will be taught. These practices draw attention and awareness to a student’s current experience just as it is, without trying to change, improve, or fix anything. By noticing what is going on moment-to-moment, students develop a bigger perspective from which to view their own feelings and thoughts. From there, they learn to develop empathy and a capacity to respond to others which is the job of the actor--to imagine what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Trimester Course. Form I. No prerequisite.
In Devised Theatre, a required trimester of basic introduction to drama, students will experience what it is like to be an active part of a creative ensemble that devises its own piece of drama. The class will be based on presentations of the origins and purpose of drama, as well as written work that aims to help students identify the components of drama (who, where, why, and conflict). Basic staging skills will be taught, along with elements of dance, scripting, and improvisation. During class, we will use an American musical icon to inspire us and give us a musical context through which to explore daily conflicts and concerns. Throughout the entire process, the goal is not only to develop storytelling and performance skills, but also to teach students how to work cooperatively, create a supportive environment, and take risks together. At the end of the course, students will showcase their piece in front of a panel of drama/art teachers and an audience of their peers.
Trimester Course. Form II. No prerequisite.
Humans are social beings; we need the ability to tell each other what is happening in our life and in our world. Thus, Drama 8 focuses on telling a story, the mechanics of speaking, and the act of releasing the voice. Through improvisational theatre games, vocal strengthening, and working with stories and scripts, we will hone the student’s ability to tell and dramatize stories. The student will also work on cold reading scripts, improvisation, creating original monologues, and performing in scenes. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the student’s communication and empathy skills, which will be useful in theatre, school activities, and everyday life.
Trimester Course. Form II. No prerequisite.
This class is open to Form II students and asks the basic question of, “What is Musical Theatre?” Students will study various components of musical theatre (script analysis, singing, acting, dancing, staging, etc.) as well as the actor's role in telling a story. Within the scope of the course, students will hone skills in critical thinking, analysis, storytelling, and the creative and technical aspects of musical theatre (dancing, singing, acting, staging, and design). The main project for the class is an original 30-minute musical. Preparation for this project includes studying the origins and development of musical theatre, studying the basic elements of musical theatre, and learning how to tell a story through the art of musical theatre.