One of Germantown Friends School's defining strengths is its Theater Arts Program. The range of opportunities available, from our Early Childhood Program through 12th grade years, means that every talent can find a place for expression in our active schedule of annual productions. In the Upper School the curriculum includes the study of dramatic literature, playwriting, acting, directing, and film. Students also learn technical production, lighting, sound and set design.
971 Acting Fundamentals
minor elective | grade: 9
Acting Fundamentals is an introductory class exploring theater as form and acting as craft. We engage in an examination of the history and development of theater over time reading, discussing, and performing works from some of the most influential plays and playwrights. The majority of our work, however, is focused on the development of each student as a theatrical storyteller.
Using contemporary systems and rooted in classic techniques, students are challenged and encouraged to develop the foundational skills of acting for the stage. Students can expect the class to be physical, collaborative, and both skill- and play-based. Student performances occur in-class and all are expected to participate in the spring Poley Festival of student-directed and student-driven theater. No previous experience necessary.
972 Acting Methods & Improvisation
minor elective | grade: 10
This course focuses on the acting and auditioning methods of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen and Shurleff, as well as improvisation. One class each week is devoted to IMPROV, with an emphasis on Viola Spolin and Keith Johnstone; a professional, Philadelphia actor teaches this class. The second class each week studies acting and directing techniques using outstanding dramatic classical and modern texts. The class explores how different interpretations affect both direction and performance. The spring term study is dedicated to production and performance work for the Poley Festival.
973 Advanced Theater Techniques
minor elective | grades: 11, 12
This course presents options for drama students, and meets twice a week. One day a week is devoted to IMPROV, with an emphasis on Viola Spolin and Keith Johnstone; a professional, Philadelphia actor teaches this class.
For the second class, students choose one of two options:
- Option One: Study of the theatrical direction and advanced acting methods of Boleslavsky, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen and Declan Donnellan, using outstanding dramatic and comic texts.
- Option Two: Study of the acting techniques involved in Musical Theatre as it compares to dramatic and comic performance styles. Throughout the year, these acting classes explore the theatrical ideas and works of: Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Tom Stoppard, August Wilson, Arthur Miller and Neil Simon, as well as exciting new playwrights. During the spring term, our students focus on directing and acting projects for the Poley Festival at the end of May.
970 Technical Theater
minor elective | grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
In Technical Theater, participants will have an opportunity to work on all aspects of bringing a show to opening night and running a show once it gets there. There will be great opportunities to work on stage painting, lighting, set building, design, and all the bells and whistles that go with theater. Technical Theater may be taken in the fall, winter, spring, or all three theater seasons; students need to indicate during which season(s) they will be participating. Each season will focus on the technical aspects of the specific production for that season; participating in production support outside of class is expected of Technical Theater students.
968 Reader’s Theater
minor elective | grades: 11, 12
This survey course is designed for juniors and seniors who are interested in reading plays within a theatrical historical context. There will be introductory lectures on the evolving styles and the influence that these playwrights had on one another. The course curriculum includes the following playwrights and works: Seamus Heaney’s adaptation of Euripides, Commedia Lazzis, Kabuki, Kyogen and Noh plays, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Moliere, Congreve, Dickens adapted by Edgar, Ibsen, Chekhov translated by Frayn, Shaw, Strindberg, Wedekind, Brecht, Pirandello, O’Neill, Wilde, Ionesco, Beckett, Pinter, Williams, Miller, Hellman, Shaffer, Fugard, Albee, Stoppard, Wilson, Shepard, Kushner, Suzan-Lori-Parks, Mamet, Friel, and Hwang.
977 From Celluloid to Digital: An Introduction to Film
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
This course provides a rich introduction to film. Equal parts history and practicum, students will not only learn the art of filmmaking but also learn about its origins, exploring what the medium has meant to modern society as film transformed from celluloid to digital. Students will be challenged to apply a critical lens to the creation, meaning and purpose of film. And as students uncover the meaning of film and filmmaking, they will, at the same time, be asked to create. Further, the business of making a film will also be sewn into the course. Students will practice pitching a film concept to a “studio” and then see their concepts through to creation. Ultimately, each student will produce a final project in the film genre of their choice (e.g., experimental, documentary or narrative). Through critiques, exploration of texts, viewing of films, and project creation, students will develop their personal language of film.
864 Theater/Dance Workout
minor physical education elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
Coursework includes methods and techniques for opening and conditioning the body for creative expression. Students develop body awareness and kinesthetic-response skills through the study of modern dance forms, yoga, and physical theater training structures. Students can expect to focus on flexibility, strength-training, breathwork, coordination and balance, creative and improvisational movement. The course is designed with the physical needs of actors and dancers in mind, but is not limited to students who identify as such. No prior experience necessary.