Young children naturally involve themselves in creative movement and dramatic experiences as a means of understanding their physical relationship to the world, trying out possible behavioral choices, as well as exploring the realms of imagination.
Theater has combined with Dance and Music to offer Lower School student’s opportunities to engage in creative play and movement and begin to learn fundamental performance skills.
The Middle School Theater Curriculum revolves around working in an ensemble to tell an active, engaging story. Theater is a collaborative art form, and students learn and sharpen the skills they need to effectively and successfully communicate and work together – as a large ensemble, a small group or a pair.
From there, they learn the craft of communicating the elements that create a story through acting - bringing life to characters, conflicts and action. Students explore their creative choices through improvisation, playwriting and script analysis.
In the Middle School, all students receive regular instruction in Visual Arts, Theater, Music and Dance. This includes Sixth Grade Arts Block, an integrated multi-disciplinary arts course.
In the Middle School curriculum we emphasize:
- Understanding of the students personal connection to artistic expression
- Ability to work individually and in groups
- Embracing challenge
- Personal growth and development
Students in Upper School theater classes are taught a large range of recognized modern acting techniques, with the goal of formulating their own individual methodology of character development.
Students also study principles of directing such as script analysis, composition and concept. Using well-known plays as source material, students have an opportunity to study, rehearse and bring to life characters from across the spectrum - from dramatic to comedic, realistic to absurd - further developing their range of performance.
In the Upper School, students must finish one credit of Arts as a graduation requirement, which is done through elective courses.
In the Upper School our program expands as we focus on:
- Understanding yourself as an artist
- Discovering your own voice and sharing that through your artistic work
- Mastery of skills and techniques
- Ability to articulate artistic process
- Knowledge of historical context
THROUGH CLASSES AND productions Friends Academy examines all areas of Stagecraft and Technical Theater. This includes: stage management; design and construction of sets, costumes, props and special effects, rigging, lighting and sound.
THE THEATER AND Dance faculty work hard to create a well rounded co-curricular program. Focus is placed on creating varied experiences, so that students may become engaged for a short term basis or find more in-depth offerings. The theatrical season is crafted to encompass numerous genres and creative opportunities for students at all skill levels. Each season we have two major productions. One is a comedy or drama by a well-known playwright (every other year, this is a piece by Shakespeare). The other production is a musical. This is usually a big show, chosen from the full range of classic and traditional pieces and modern repertory.
EVERY YEAR, ORIGINALWORKS provides students, faculty and parents the opportunity to write, direct, choreograph, compose, and then produce their own piece as a part of an evening of original performance. It is a production cherished by the whole community.