Throughout history, human beings have enacted stories to share our experiences and expand how we understand the world. At Dwight, theater students work through IB units of inquiry to explore the range of what it is to be human by stepping into the shoes of other people and expressing their own unique experiences.

For students from Pre-K to grade 5, learning through dramatic play is an integral part of the curriculum. They enact stories, role play, and let their imaginations soar.

Beginning in Middle School, students create theatrical worlds through acting, designing, directing, and playwriting. So, too, in the role of audience, students consider how enacted stories shape their worldview. Learning focuses on becoming comfortable with taking risks, storytelling through performance, peer feedback, and collaborating on a shared vision.

In Upper School, students expand their understanding, skills, and experience by studying, creating, and attending performances. In grades 9 and 10, they explore a range of theatrical forms and create original work. Essential to the artform is communicating with an audience, so to truly understand creating theater students are encouraged to step outside the classroom to perform curricular work in Scene Nights.

In grades 11 and 12, students become theater artists in their own right. They study performance practice, across cultures, through the lenses of theater theorists, and by creating their own work inspired by their studies. Theater practice at this level emphasizes not only the “how,” but also the “why” of communicating. The culmination of student work is performing pieces they create individually and collaboratively; they are responsible for all elements, including staging and design.

Working With Professional Mentors Beyond the Classroom

Extracurricular opportunities in theater abound. Students can participate in productions after school as performers, directors, designers, and technicians guided by working professionals in Dwight’s black box theater and off-Broadway theaters. They can also receive intensive training in acting techniques, including on-camera work with current casting directors, in Dwight’s Master Theater Program. This program mirrors those at the college level, but is designed specifically for high school students who have shown drive.

The full breadth of theater learning and activities at Dwight include: 

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Playwriting
  • Design and technical skills in lighting, sound, projection, and scenic art
  • Technology use: ETC ion lighting console, and QLab
  • Musical theater
  • Devised theater
  • Collaborative theater
  • Commedia dell’arte
  • On-camera acting skills
  • Play analysis
  • Multi-media performance