Plays, musicals, cabaret skits, improvisation—Academy children get many opportunities to shine in the spotlight and back stage. Performance is not an extra-curricular activity at Academy but an essential part of a student’s personal and academic growth, teaching accountability and instilling confidence in their talents.
The play’s the thing. So is the process.
For Academy students, the process of rehearsing, making costumes, building sets and designing stage lighting is as important as the performance itself. They learn time management skills, improvisation and the importance of teamwork. Stepping into a character’s shoes builds empathy and psychological insight. And has there ever been a better lesson about perseverance than “the show must go on?”
An Academy tradition: The fourth-grade musical
In PreK and Kindergarten, Academy taps into young children’s natural propensity for play-acting through singing, skits, dancing and learning about the practice of the arts in other cultures. Lower school students also receive formal instruction in drama. This culminates in one of Academy’s most celebrated traditions — the fourth-grade musical. Just a few of the past performances include Winnie the Pooh KIDS and The Knight at Dawn KIDS.
Inspiring confidence in Middle School
Adolescence is a critical time for building a young person’s confidence and self-esteem. Academy’s emphasis on performance at this age allows students to safely take risks and discover their talents. The Creative Expressions program gives students the chance to produce their own plays, create a “STOMP” routine and learn set design. Middle Schoolers are also required to take at least one performing arts course a year. They explore acting and oration techniques, music and movement from other cultures, improvisation, playwriting and producing original performance pieces. They also participate in the annual Middle School musical, which has featured works such as The Aristocats, Suessical and Annie.
Comfortable in the spotlight — in and outside of school
By the time they get to Upper School, Academy students perform in regional theatre, take summer acting workshops and compete in the Madlabs Young Playwright’s Festival. They also have an opportunity to take our Portfolio Technical Theater course. This independent study course is for students looking for a deeper understanding of drama and theatre to further their studies within a specific field. Students explore all aspects of stagecraft: sound and set design; lighting; costuming and make-up; master carpentry and stage management. The final project is a ten-minute DVD showcasing each student’s work to be used for college entrance applications. The Upper School also puts on two major student productions a year. Past performances have included Les Miserable, Cabaret, Into the Woods, and A Voice In the Dark.