Blake students learn to craft entrancing stories onstage. Our theatre program, in keeping with our other arts programs:
- fosters creativity;
- provides numerous avenues for self-expression in a safe environment; and
- helps students become comfortable communicating with and performing for an audience.
All students in grades pre-kindergarten through eight participate in Theater classes. Middle and Upper School students with a particular interest may pursue advanced courses in acting, playwriting, production and related subjects beginning in seventh grade.
Connecting With An Audience: Grades Pre-K Through 5
Lower School students are introduced to the performing arts in pre-kindergarten, where verbal and non-verbal role-playing supports both curricular instruction and basic communication skills. Regular theatre classes occur in grades K-5. By fourth grade, students produce brief dramatic scenes, which help prepare them to participate in a full-length musical in grade five.A Capstone Program: The Fifth-Grade Class Musical
All fifth graders participate in a fully-integrated musical production. Each fifth grade campus produces its own version of the same performance. Students participate in music, dance, acting, and stagecraft. Each child has the satisfaction of contributing to an unforgettable class production, and children from the two Lower School campuses get to know each other as future Middle School classmates.
Exploration of character, story arc, setting and dialogue through vocalization, movement, timing, and spacing
Imagination/make-believe • Story dramatization • Puppetry • Exploring emotions • Three tools of acting: voice, body, imagination
Pantomime • Story sequencing • Puppetry • Exploring beginning performance techniques • Beginning characterization
Five W's (who, what, where, when, why) • Character exploration • Beginning performance technique • Story dramatization of Japanese tale
Character development • Exploration of scripted material • Memorization • Performance techniques, including stage directions, vocal & physical awareness
Improvisation • Character development • Scripted material • Memorization • Performance techniques, including stage directions, vocal & physical awareness
Stage makeup • Performance techniques • Ensemble responsibility • Fifth-grade musical
Exploring Acting, Writing, & Performance: Grades 6 Through 8
All Middle School students take theatre classes as part of their arts rotation in grade six. They receive nuanced instruction in various aspects of drama, including pantomime, improvisation, playwriting, theatre history and beginning acting techniques. Students build their skills in daily performances, as they dig deeper into developing characters and plots.
Seventh graders elect two arts choices from visual arts, wood studio and theatre. (Eighth graders may do the same, or may apply for integrated arts, which combines visual art, theatre, wood studio and music.) Seventh and eighth graders who pursue theatre studies work investigate classic dramatic texts such as A Midsummer Night's Dream before they progress to writing and staging their own scripts.
Advanced Dramatic Studies: Grades 9 Through 12
Upper School students take at least four semesters of arts courses, choosing among offerings in visual arts, theatre, forensics and music. Developing thespians begin with a basic acting course that explores theatre through improvisation techniques, theatre games, voice and movement training, stage combat, audition techniques and contemporary scene study. They may go on to complete advanced coursework in acting, playwriting, production, or musical theatre.
Students who take advanced theatre courses work with every element of stage production: costume design, lighting and sound, marketing and so forth. Scripts students create for playwriting classes are also considered for production in the student-directed play series.