The theatre arts program at St. Anne’s-Belfield School is founded upon the belief that theatre work teaches not only acting and performance skills and techniques, but it also reaches and develops the human spirit within our students.
The primary goal of the theatre arts experience is to develop creative thinkers, confident and communicative speakers, and knowledgeable, compassionate, and tolerant individuals. To that end, the School provides students at every grade level the opportunity to participate in theatre arts classes and extracurricular productions.
The St. Anne’s-Belfield School Kindergarten through third grade performing arts program is unique among independent schools in that theatre arts studies are an integral component of the Orff-Schulwerk classes interwoven with music and dance. In Kindergarten and first grade, drama is approached through creative and rhythmic movement, pantomime, singing games, simultaneous dialogue, choral speech, and repetitive responses using rhymes, chants, games, cumulative stories, and teacher-narrated folktales. In second and third grade, the dramatic process progresses with improvisational games to develop child-appropriate acting techniques and ensemble skills that are applied to dramatizations of myths and folktales. Each grade level develops “musical-dramas” throughout the year, a process that culminates in the third grade with a formally scripted musical play.
The goal of the theatre program in grades four through eight is to build self-assured, well-rounded actors and speakers. In class, students engage in activities designed to encourage creative expression and physical awareness, both individually and within an ensemble. During their theatre arts experience at this level young actors engage with a diverse range of repertoire that might include international folktales or Shakespeare. In addition to an in-depth curriculum, students may audition for grade-specific after-school plays in the fall, winter and spring.
Upper School students may enroll in up to three theatre arts classes in four years:
- Theatre Arts I—An Introduction to Acting and Improvisation;
- Theatre Arts 2—The Literary World of Theatre;
- Advanced Theatre Studies Senior Seminar, in which senior students learn the fundamentals of various production areas including costuming, set design and construction, properties, lighting, and sound.
Upper School students may audition for extracurricular productions, including a fall Upper School play, a winter musical, and a spring student-directed play as part of a Capstone Thesis project.