Drama and Technical Theater
Drama and Production Technology are part of every Middle School student’s performing arts program. In eighth grade, drama class builds on the sixth grade and seventh grade performing arts classes and includes a range of exploration, from public speaking and writing monologues and scenes to acting and collaborating on a full-grade culminating performance. A Middle School Drama Club production is offered in the fee-based Afterschool Enrichment program.
Upper School Theater is an inclusive program fed by the unique contributions of each ensemble member. Our Upper School theater season offers diverse opportunities for all students, regardless of experience. Anyone who wants to audition will be cast in a role; anyone who wants to be part of the stage crew will be put to work. The performing arts community includes a dedicated, creative, and resilient cohort of technical theater students who provide invaluable support for plays, concerts, assemblies, and numerous events in Franklin Theater throughout the year. They do all this while developing skills in various areas of production technology and design.
Mary Jane Pagenstecher
Director of Performing Arts
Drama and Production Technology in Middle School
Middle School students explore the performing arts through hands-on experiences in dance, drama, music, and production technology. These experiences encourage students to take risks, learn and apply skills through group activities, prepare for performance, and expand their understanding of the arts as powerful vehicles for self-expression. In addition to courses in dance, drama, general music, and production technology, students participate in performing ensembles. Each ensemble appears at two formal concerts and/or as part of informal sharings for the Middle School community throughout the year.
The Grades 5–8 Drama Club provides students an opportunity to develop skills in acting through theater games and the process of rehearsing and performing a play. It is open to students in grades 4-8, with or without prior experience. All students are cast in the production and may also work on the technical aspects of the show. Dancers in grades 6-8 can develop their skills in dance composition through the Enrichment Program Dance Choreography Workshop. Student choreography generated in the workshop is presented at one formal dance concert per semester.
Over the course of sixth and seventh grade, students spend one full semester studying drama and technical theater (dance, drama, and general music complete the remaining three semesters). All four classes are exploratory, experiential, and connected thematically. An informal sharing for peers celebrates the end of each semester of exploration.
The eighth grade drama class builds on the sixth grade and seventh grade performing arts classes and includes a range of exploration, from public speaking and writing monologues and scenes to acting and collaborating on a full-grade culminating performance. This yearlong experiential class, which is thematically tied to the integrated English and History program, encourages students to apply their skills as expressive performers, make connections across their academic experience, and strengthen their sense of community.
Drama and Production Technology in Upper School
Each new Upper School season and play/performance event encourages students to explore a new landscape and provides new “sets” of opportunity and skill-building. The 2022-2023 theater season will open with Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Our Town. The winter show will be The SpongeBob Musical.
Cast members and crew heads (crew heads are students in leadership roles who actively participate in the entire rehearsal and production process) may earn ½ credit toward the Performing Arts requirement for each of the major productions: Fall Play, Winter Play, and Spring Play. Additional stage crew members (e.g., running crew and costume crew) may receive up to ¼ credit toward the Performing Arts requirement for their participation in each of the major theatrical productions.
Students, at all ability and experience levels, who have an interest in exploring lighting, sound, costuming, stage management, set design and construction, and directing are invited to join this amazing company! Students may sign up for Stage Crew at the beginning of each production season–fall, winter, and spring. Students are encouraged to take the Production Technology/Costuming class, a prerequisite for anyone who hopes to earn a crew head position (e.g. lighting designer, stage manager) in Upper School.
PAST THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS – UPPER SCHOOL
This five-year history provides a glimpse into the nature, diversity, and magnitude of the works produced in our Upper School Theater program in a typical school year.
The Addams Family – Brickman, Elice, Lippa (musical)
Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic – Matt Cox (comedy)She Kills Monsters – Qui Nguyen (drama)
Metamorphoses – Mary Zimmerman (drama)
Salt Shakers – Mia Mizner ’21 (comedy)
Void FM – Claire Robinson ’21 (comedy)
Old Home Days – Blythe Thompson ’22 (drama)
Twelfth Night – Shakespeare (comedy)
Guys and Dolls – Swerling, Loesser and Burrows (musical)
The Laramie Project – Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project (drama)
A “Virtual” Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare (comedy)
Peter and the Starcatcher – Rick Elice (play with music)
Saint Joan – George Bernard Shaw (drama for the Maine One-Act Festival)
Twin Pearls for the Tailor’s Bird – Four student-written plays (dramas, comedies)
As You Like It – William Shakespeare (comedy)
The Drowsy Chaperone – Mckellar and Martin (musical)
The Skin Of Our Teeth – Thornton Wilder (play)
Students wishing to supplement their academic experiences (for an additional cost) may add enrichment music lessons and workshops on our campus.