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explore our CAMPUS

What's cool about our campus is that it's spread out over seven acres in Philadelphia's historic neighborhood of Germantown. The buildings are an eclectic mix of old and new, a unique look and feel more consistent with a college campus. With three gyms, three auditoriums, a student center, numerous open, green spaces and nine classroom buildings, it's a place worthy of adoration and exploration. The Meetinghouse, at the center of it all, provides a beautiful and spiritual focal point.

1. Main Building 2. Meetinghouse 3. Sharpless 4. Hargroves 5. Wade Science Center 6. Alumni Building 7. Admissions 8. Living Graveyard 9. Dead Graveyard 10. Loeb Performing Arts Center 11. Smith Gym 12. Cary Building 13. Friends Free Library 14. Field House 15. Scattergood Gym

we have deep roots in this place

Values Container

The Pillars of A

Quaker Education

At GFS, students and teachers gather in Meeting for Worship once each week. This is a time for shared, silent contemplation. Anyone who feels moved to speak may rise and do so. It is a simple formula, and can be a remarkably powerful experience.In these days of constant connectivity, the ability and opportunity to sit in silence have special value. Meeting for Worship is a cornerstone of the GFS culture that many come to cherish throughout their lives.

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speak the truth

We strive to deal fairly, equally and honestly with everyone. We aim to do as we say, reflecting our beliefs in our actions. even when it is inconvenient or challenging, we stand by our convictions, striving to lead lives of integrity.

Shine Together

We are all blessed with remarkable gifts. We are equally qualified to seek truth and to hear the voice of God. Every person deserves equal respect. For these reasons, we work against prejudice and discrimination and for equality.

stay connected

"Alone we can do little; together we can do so much."* We know there is strength in cooperation and wisdom to be found when many perspectives come together. We believe in the power of community.*
The words of Helen Keller.

keep it simple

In every way we can, we try to minimize the distractions that can draw our attention from the important things in life. This means not becoming overwhelmed by the busyness of daily routine. It means seeking balance. It means embracing simplicity.

care for all

This planet we inhabit, the talents we've been given, the community of which we are a part- all hold remarkable value. We must be responsible, imaginative and proactive in protecting these gifts and caring for the world and people around us. We must exercise good stewardship.

promote peace

We believe each life is precious and unique. We stand against war and violence and work to eliminate their root causes, including ignorance, racism, hatred and oppression. We are committed to creating peace.

  • Truth
  • Shine
  • Connected
  • Simple
  • Care
  • Peace

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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
and Filmmaking

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.

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