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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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Our Theatre program provides a range of opportunities that allow every talent to find a place for expression. In addition to an active schedule of annual stage productions, students may elect to pursue coursework in the dramatic arts, movement, technical theatre, and film. Our curriculum offers high-level instruction in the study of acting, dramatic literature, movement techniques, and filmmaking. Classes and productions focus on articulate speech, clarity of utterance, fullness of expression, and storytelling that explores both aesthetics and our common humanity. Through the Theatre Department, students can also learn the arts of technical production, including lighting, sound, and set design. 

Acting & Performance-Based Courses

THT710 Acting Fundamentals
minor elective | grade: 9
Acting Fundamentals is an introductory class exploring theatre as form and acting as craft. We engage in an examination of the history and development of theater over time by 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 theatre. No previous experience necessary.

THT720 Acting Methods
minor elective | grade: 10
This course focuses on the acting and auditioning methods of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen and Shurleff, as well as improvisation. Students can expect to study 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.

THT840 Ninth Grade Musical
minor elective (one semester) | grade: 9
In this course, students will explore the many elements that are part of a musical theatre production. The semester will begin with a study of audition etiquette, including slating, as well as proper vocal technique and performance. Students will have the choice of auditioning for a lead role or participating as a member of the ensemble in a full book musical. Once the show has been cast, the course will move to the rehearsal process, including the study of scenework, choral, solo, and dance pieces within the production. The exhibition of the course will occur in May and may require rehearsals outside of the school day. No previous singing or acting experience is necessary. May be taken for Music or Theatre credit.

THT820 Improv Theatre
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
In this course you can explore communicating through action and dialogue while not needing to memorize lines. We investigate the humorous Saturday Night Live performers who started their careers working on improvisational exercises, writing on their feet, to hone their skills as comedic writers/actors. IMPROV techniques used while working as an ensemble on spontaneity, creativity, wit, physically free playing, and communicative storytelling are explored. The class focuses on growing as an ensemble and meets once a week on Mondays.

THT830 Musical Theatre
minor elective (one semester) | grades: 10, 11, 12
Acting, singing, dancing: this course is what they call a ‘triple threat’. We will study Broadway musicals, both past and present, through the complimentary but distinct lenses of libretto, score, and choreography. Students can expect to learn through participation as we study the vocal, acting, and movement techniques common in this genre of theatre. Coursework may also include dramaturgical studies of particular periods in history as they relate to the performance and writing styles of a given show. The semester will culminate with an in-class showcase of student work and can be taken for either Music or Theatre credit.

THT730 Acting & Directing Techniques
minor elective | grades: 11, 12
What is acting and how is it done? How does someone become someone else? does the actor free their emotions? How important is believability? Is acting an art or a craft? This course explores these questions and the evolution of actor training as we study and investigate the techniques of: Stanislavski, Strasberg, Adler, Meisner, Esper, Hagen and Brecht. The texts studied are chosen from the anthologies of our finest playwrights from the past to present time. Our classwork culminates in performances in which student written, directed and acting work is How presented in the Poley Festival each spring.

Dance & Movement Courses

THT800 Movement for Theatre
minor elective (one semester course) | grades: 10, 11, 12
This course trains the actor in methods and techniques for opening and conditioning the physical body, one of the actor’s primary instruments for artistic expression. Students increase awareness, range, and freedom of movement while exploring the fundamental importance of space, weight, and time as theatrical principles. The course assumes a collaborative approach to theater-making in the study of ensemble-based techniques. Students can also expect to focus on flexibility, strength-training, breathwork, coordination and balance, creative and improvisational movement. This is not a performance-based class - and no prior experience is needed. This course can be taken for Theatre or PE credit.

THT810 Modern Dance
minor elective (one semester course) | grades: 10, 11, 12
This course is an all-levels modern dance class that includes explorations in technique, improvisation, and choreography. Students will engage methods and language common to a variety of modern dance styles and concepts. Most material will be learned through physical participation as students deepen their awareness of the body and explore the connection between the physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects of themselves. Should they choose, students will have the opportunity to perform as part of the annual Poley Festival of student-created work. Course material will be leveled based on the experience of those registered, therefore, previous dance experience is welcome, but not necessary. This course can be taken for Theatre or PE credit.

Technical Theatre Courses

THT700 Technical Theatre
minor elective | grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
In Technical Theater, students have an opportunity to work on all aspects of bringing a show to opening night and running that show once it gets there. Students work on set construction, stage painting, lighting, design, run crew, and all of the other aspects that go into bringing a show to life. Each trimester will focus on the technical needs of the specific production in season. Students are expected to participate as a member of a production team for at least one mainstage show, which will include call times outside of the regular school day.

THT850 9th Grade Musical: Stage Crew, Stage Management, & Costuming
minor elective (one semester) | grade: 9
In this hands-on course, students will learn the technical aspects of theatrical production by working on a full book musical with other members of their grade year. Students can elect to participate in one of two technical theatre tracks: Stage Crew/Management or Costuming. The semester will begin with basic skill-building and a study of design. Soon after, the course will transition and be entirely focused on the building of sets, costumes, and props for the Ninth Grade Musical. The exhibition of the course will occur in May and may require work calls outside of the school day. No previous experience is necessary.

THT791 Stage Management & Set Design
minor elective (one semester) | grades: 10, 11, 12
This course gives advanced technical theatre students the opportunity to hone their skills and develop their capacity as Stage Managers and Designers. Students will work from concept to design in the creation of model sets with the possibility for designing a GFS production. They will also develop their leadership skills in the study of stage management. This portion of the course will focus on the applied skills of creating prompt books, keeping run crew notes and rehearsal reports, among other stage management practices. Student can expect to support GFS theatre productions.

Academic Courses

THT680 Reader’s Theatre
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.

THT940 Shakespeare Studio
major elective | grades: 11, 12
The influence of Shakespeare’s plays on our language and culture is evident and alive in daily conversation and across artistic genres—cinema, theater, opera, and pop culture. This course welcomes actors and non-actors alike: we seek a dynamic and diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. Centered around four Shakespearean plays, the course gives students the opportunity to delve in and get to know these plays well. In Shakespeare Studio we will work around the table and get up on our feet. We will study as actors, directors and dramaturgs in the staging of various scenes from all three plays. Students will begin the course with a Shakespeare Toolkit to introduce them to the world of text work, rhetoric, scansion and dramaturgical study. Students in the tenth grade may register for this course with departmental approval. Professional theatre artists will workshop various techniques and approaches to the plays of William Shakespeare. We will attend professional productions in the region and screen cinematic interpretations, considering varying directorial viewpoints.

Filmmaking Courses

THT750 Introduction to Filmmaking
minor elective | grades: 10, 11, 12
This entry-level course provides students with a foundation in cinema studies and filmmaking. Students begin the course by examining the history and technology of film while discovering their cinematic voices through micro-films and exercises shot and edited with their smartphones. Students will gain an appreciation of the technical, theatrical, and narrative elements of cinema through assignments that introduce concepts related to cinematography, production design, genres, and editing. Once essential terminologies are defined and students have a greater appreciation for the production process professional filmmaking equipment is introduced to the mix as students are trained to use and maintain the necessary hardware and software to create films. By the end of this course, students will have a firm grasp of pre and post production filmmaking techniques. They will also have a portfolio of films that demonstrate their burgeoning skills and unique point of view as a storyteller. The course will also include assignments related to film criticism and screenings to create dynamic cinephiles out of every student.

THT751 Film Editing & Post-Production
minor elective (one semester) | grades: 11, 12
prerequisite: Intro to Filmmaking

In this intermediate course, students learn the incredible creative power that post-production provides the filmmaker. Topics of study will include picture editing, sound editing and mixing, visual effects (VFX), and colour correction. Emphasis is on the overall post-production process and editing, and the importance of knowing the post-production direction well before filming takes place. Hands-on learning with non-linear editing software will introduce students to creating a project and properly organizing and naming files for the purposes of editing. Students will also wrestle with the philosophy and craft of editing to imbue their projects with more substance and meaning.

THT792 Light, Sound, and Production Design
minor elective (one semester) | grades: 11, 12
prerequisite: Intro to Filmmaking

This hands-on semester course is intended for students interested in building upon their filmmaking skills and diving deeper into aspects of production design with a particular focus on lighting and sound. For the lighting portion of the class, students will learn more about the various types of grips (the camera and lighting technicians involved in filming) while gaining practice in lighting a set in different ways to gain realistic or stylized results. Students will also develop an understanding of “how” sound works through the practical use of microphones and digital platforms like GarageBand, Pro Tools, and Ableton Live. The history of sound design from analog to digital formats will inform this process as students learn about recording original sound effects (Foley) and dubbing audio. Additional topics include lighting and makeup for actors of all hues and sound mixing and sampling.

THT760 Filmmaking: The Picture is the Thing: Advanced
minor elective | grades: 11, 12
prerequisite: Intro to Filmmaking and Film Editing & Post-Production OR Light, Sound, and Production

The goal of this year-long course is to complete one feature-length film by years end. Requirements during the year will consist of a series of short films including one completed for submission to the Philly Youth Film Festival. Participants will also be required to attend the film festival. Additional assignments will include watching and discussing multiple films with an eye towards approach and execution.

Another goal of the class is for students to decide on the genre of the feature film; narrative, documentary or experimental and complete the film. The final feature length will be between 50 and 90 minutes long. During the course of the year, we will commit to making 2-3 short films and simultaneously complete work on the long-term feature-length film. Focus on technical; lighting, sound, set design etc. as well as a focus on story construction, budgeting, casting etc. will be ingrained into the academic year. From time to time we will have subject area guest lectures visit with the class.