Dwight, a New York City landmark private school, is a leader in global education recognized worldwide for igniting the spark of genius in every child. We are proud of our rich history, which dates back to 1872, and numerous advances that have distinguished Dwight as a pioneering International Baccalaureate World School. While innovation drives us ever forward, our commitment to personalizing the educational journey for every student remains at the heart of everything we do.
Dwight Facts & Figures
Dwight stands apart from other independent schools as a leader with a long list of firsts in New York City and around the world. Discover more about our milestones and global community.
After months of preparation and an intense week of rehearsals to perform a specially commissioned song, “All the World Will Stand,” Dwight students from around our global network of schools took to the Dwight Dubai stage for “United Harmony” — a stunning series of performances in front of an audience of 400! Bravo!
More than a musical milestone for our students, however, our annual Global Concert creates memories and friends to last a lifetime, all while exemplifying Dwight’s pillar of Global Vision.
Watch a special behind-the-scenes video chronicling the week of rehearsals, and check out the program for more information on the spectacle which took place on Friday, February 23. Much more information, and many more voices from this beautiful Dwight tradition, along with a full video of the event, will soon be made available.
Last fall, our Upper School Lions took the stage of our Black Box Theater at 566 Columbus Ave to bring their rendition of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter to life!
The Wild Throes of a Midlife Crisis
Present Laughter is a borderline farcical tale centering around Garry Essendine, whose last name is also an anagram for “neediness,” a major theme in his story arc. Over the course of the show, he attempts to dodge a wild series of events alongside his chosen “family” that resides in and around his household, all while making his way through a midlife crisis. Fun fact: the production derives its name from lyrics featured in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night — “present mirth hath present laughter.”
A Comedy Classic for a 21st Century Audience
As times change, an update here and there to classics like Present Laughter, written in 1939 and first performed in 1942, help make a stronger connection with modern audiences. Head of Upper School Theater Productions and Director of the Master Theater Program Terry Christgau took the opportunity to rethink a few elements of the original show. The character of “Mo,” for instance ⎼ originally known as Morris, but renamed Margaret in our updated production ⎼ was changed from male to female to better reflect a more timely “chosen family” that Essendine surrounds himself with.
Setting the Scene
Even though all the world’s a stage, a little top-notch set design and costuming never hurts — especially when it comes to immersing both actor and audience in the whirlwind midlife crisis at the heart of the show. In order to welcome us into the life of Essendine, Christgau, acting as director, lighting designer, and set designer, and his assistant director and costume designer, Colleen Durham, carefully crafted a striking vision.
For the set, the team created a beautiful scene inspired by the upscale London flats of the 1930s, with a surprise or two built in to help the actors pull off their door slamming silliness with ease and quickness.
When it came to garb, the actors donned every manner of swanky suit and jewel-toned dress to reflect their standing in society, the upper middle class. On the flip-side, Essendine’s household caretakers (excluding Ms. Erickson, who is clad in a brighter, more eccentric garb) are more often adorned in neutrals. “Mo,” our gender-swapped character portrayed by Frances Gindi-Chuafullo ’24, does break the traditional mold, sporting a stronger, more masculine style in structured jackets and slacks as a nod to the play's origins. All in all, the sets and costumes transported the audience through time and fully involved them in the wild life Essendine lives.
A Mighty Congrats to All
Christgau said, “Many believe that this type of material is too challenging for High School students, but given the chance, they can really entertain and rise to the occasion to create something truly great!”
That continues to be the case with Dwight’s Theater Program. After countless hours of rehearsals, this incredible cast of actors worked tirelessly to rise to new heights and make this challenging, comic timing tour-de-force extraordinary. We tip our hats to the incredible cast and crew of actors, set designers, stage managers, lighting techs, and many more who helped bring this year’s fall play to life. Bravo, bravo, bravo!
Solidifying its position as a thought leader in independent schools, Dwight School has released a new Podcast, Sparking Genius.
Three episodes have been released, with topics ranging from what exactly a “spark of genius” is, to a deep dive into the International Baccalaureate, to the power of online learning unlocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three more episodes are planned in the coming months.
On Sparking Genius, host Dianne Drew —also Dwight’s Global Director of Education and Head of Dwight New York — sits down with education leaders and innovative thinkers from the global network of Dwight Schools and beyond to explore what the future of education holds.
“We started this series with the Dwight education philosophy firmly at the foundation,” says Dianne. “But have expanded outward to touch on topics of universal relevance to all schools. Anyone who has an interest in education, and children’s development and well-being, would enjoy a listen — educators and parents alike.”
Sparking Genius dives into the most cutting-edge topics, to hear firsthand how new strategies and fresh perspectives can inspire and enlighten students like never before. As the world changes with each passing day, so does the field of education —Sparking Genius looks ahead to the coming years and the many ways that learning innovations can continue to be integrated into systems of education, all while discovering incredible advancements that will benefit the next generations of students.
Since premiering on all podcasting platforms, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts, Sparking Genius has garnered 5-star ratings and is in the Top 1% of podcasts in both the categories of Education and Technology.
Dwight’s successful new podcast is just one of many ways that Dwight continues to pioneer in the field of education — and yet another exciting next step forward in its history of leading the way in education.
“This is such a thrilling project for Dwight, as it really highlights our thought leadership in the industry,” says Dianne. “And, as an added bonus, I get to sit down with some of the sharpest minds in education and have really insightful conversations that our extended education community can learn from.”
Dwight’s inspiring faculty encourage students to believe in their own talents, pursue their passions, and take intellectual risks through the IB. No other curriculum fits better with our mission of igniting the spark of genius in every child — and vision of educating critical thinkers and innovative global leaders. The academic breadth and depth of the IB are simply unparalleled, which is why it is recognized worldwide as the “gold standard” in college preparation.