Shipley offers theater and the performing arts as part of the academic curriculum and as an extracurricular activity. Our program is highly respected for its expert teaching, wide range of choices, and superior performances.
Lower and Middle School
Lower and Middle School students develop public-speaking and performance skills as part of their English and History curricula. In addition, Middle School students learn from improvisational games. Students in both divisions frequently make presentations in class and at both divisional and all-school assemblies. They include:
- poetry selections
- dramatic readings
- historical speeches
- their own essays
- grade-level plays
Middle School students make short presentations in Morning Meeting, and participate in a spring musical that culminates the year’s studies. Each year, theater students present short scenes and one-act plays, in recital format, for parents and friends.
In 9th grade, classroom sessions focus on vocal training and physical bearing. Students perform theater exercises based on dramatic texts taken primarily from American contemporary theater. The level of sophistication increases by grade level as students learn general theater history and work with plays ranging from Greek tragedy to existential theater. Upper School students may participate in extracurricular theater without enrolling in academic courses. Our theater opportunities accommodate a wide range of talent and skill. Formats include:
- one-act plays
- an auditioned spring musical
- informal student-performance assemblies
- staged, auditioned talent-show productions
- two full-scale productions each year in our Shakespeare program, unique in high-school theater
The Shipley Theater Department maintains the TheaterWords website, a collection of royalty-free plays written by Shipley faculty in Latin and English, specifically for performance by students, women, and school, college, and amateur theater groups. The plays have been used by theater departments throughout the world.