Curriculum Overview

Students study theatre history, acting techniques, directing, playwriting, movement, voice, and a variety of related topics. Students attend professional live theatre and learn to critique and evaluate the rehearsal/performance process through both written and oral analysis and discussion. Because we strive to give students as much one-on-one attention as possible, we hire a variety of guest artists throughout the school year to help teach, direct, and coach our students. The entire curriculum is prescribed and requires a serious commitment. The student-actors do not decide which areas of theatre they wish to study. We teach the student what they NEED to know to succeed – not only in theatre, but in life – not just what they want to know to perform.

Performance Opportunities

Our program includes two extracurricular high school main stage productions, an eighth grade studio production, an all- school musical every other year, and numerous other opportunities for students to perform their curricular work in a public forum for family and friends. The Studio Series production opportunities include two Intermediate class plays that rotate between classical and contemporary shows, the Junior class original work show “Too Much Light”, Advanced One Act Play festival, and the Senior class project. We teach students – to paraphrase Stanislavski – to love the ART in themselves, not THEMSELVES in the art. We teach acting not “play acting,” honesty/TRUTH not “performance,” and to enjoy the process, not only the product.

Levels of Instruction

Different levels of instruction are provided for middle school students and high school students.

Beginning Majors (Grade 6-8)

Explore Greek, Kabuki, and Medieval Theatre, basic stage combat, neutral mask, puppetry, mime, claymation, makeup, ballroom dance, improvisation, and variety of other theatre related skills including weekly movement class.

Intermediate Majors (Grade 9-10)

Focus on in depth study of Stanislavski’s methods/books along with Love Languages and Shurtleff’s Guideposts.  Units in Personal Clowning, Moliere, Black Playwrights, Makeup, Auditioning, Movement, and voice work as well as technical elements in set design, sound design, lighting design, and costume design.

Advanced Majors (Grade 11-12)

Introduction to Uta Hagen, in depth Directing/Scene work, Grotowski, Trapeze, Experimental Theatre, College Preparation/Auditions, and developing solo theatre.

Commitment to the Arts and Striving for the Best

In the DSA Aesthetic Standards,  it states, “Explore/define/pursue controversial art and censorship.”  In the Theatre Department we are constantly striving to push Theatre majors to explore outside the box and go beyond the norm.

We believe our students should experiment with all types of material, subjects, and genres. In doing so, there are times when the material students choose to perform can have mature content and deal with controversial topics. Keeping in mind that our curriculum explores theatre classics as well as cutting edge contemporary pieces, will help our student’s parents understand where we are headed. If performers or presentations use adult content or mature material, it will always be noted either on the posters or in class discussions. This allows parents who are concerned about younger students viewing mature material to know if the performance is for advanced students or beginners. Often advanced performances have some controversial language and/or content.