Shipley’s theater program involves coursework as well as extracurricular rehearsals and performances.

The Lower School and Middle School theater programs focus on improvisation, script writing, and creativity. Opportunities abound for both informal and formal performances.
All Sixth Grade students take a theater course and put on a production that showcases the skills learned. Seventh and Eighth Graders have the option of choosing Theater as their Performing Arts course. In addition, they may audition for the Middle School Musical each spring.
Upper School classes 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.

Theater at Shipley

Performance opportunities in Upper School include:
  • one-act plays
  • an auditioned spring musical
  • informal performances at assemblies
  • Shakespeare or other classical productions
  • Newly renovated Riely Theatre includes state of the art lighting, sound, and scenic materials. Students also have the opportunity to learn technical theater and production skills
  • A new “grey box” (flexible “black box”) space in the Shipley Commons
  • Theater classrooms, dressing rooms, and offices beneath Riely Theatre

List of 9 news stories.

  • Contour Line Drawing: A Lesson in Concentration and Creativity

    Contour line drawing is more than a classroom exercise, it demands unwavering concentration, forging connections between the artist and their subject, creating a unique interplay between the pen and paper. A poignant reminder that art isn't merely about what we see; it's about how we see it and the stories we can convey through the lines we draw.
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  • God Is In the Glyph: The Art of Rory McArthur

    Explore the world of renowned artist Rory MacArthur at The Speer Gallery in a mesmerizing exhibition on loan from the West Collection. Discover MacArthur's journey into glyphs and abstraction, where he crafts perfect glyph-like objects using color, shape, surface, and form in an age inundated with symbols.
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  • Enriching Shipley’s Performing Arts Program

    In an effort enrich Shipley’s Theater Arts Program, significant changes are underway, touching every aspect of the program—from personnel to scheduling. Learn more about the exciting changes underway in Shipley's Theater Arts.
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  • Protest Art in Studio Art 3H: The Art of Crafting Your Message

    "How can we use the language of art to explore our feelings and beliefs? What do I care about and how can I bring that idea to life? What do I want to communicate?" These are just a few of the questions that Shipley’s Studio Art 3 Honors students grappled with as they completed their protest art assignments. Learn more about this project and  how students discover their voice as artists to speak about something they care about.
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  • Shipley Honors Combo Wins First Place at National Jazz Festival

    The Shipley Honors Combo won first place in the Small Ensemble Division 2 category at the National Jazz Festival, held April 22 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Trumpeter Aidan Peterson ‘24 won an Outstanding Musician Award and also earned the Judge’s Choice Award.
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  • Spotlight on the Lower School Music Ensemble Program

    Shipley’s Lower School music program offers a one-of-a-kind musical education to its young learners, culminating in an authentic music ensemble experience. In fourth grade, students can learn to play three different instruments. The long-term benefits and goals of the program are many, extending beyond the classroom and into the lives of students and their families.
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  • From the Beacon: Mean Girls Will Be Totally Fetch!

    This year’s Upper School Spring Musical is Mean Girls, a modern adaptation of the classic movie from 2004. Shipley theater star and Beacon writer Colin Harkins ’23 tells us why audiences should be excited to see the show March 2-4, 2023 in Riely Theatre.
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  • From the Beacon: Shipley Theater Department Joins Broadway Green Alliance

    Shipley’s theater program is excited to announce that it will partner with Broadway Green Alliance, a corporation that tries to bring more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices into theaters all around the country. Read more in this article originally published in the Beacon student newspaper.
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  • Shipley Musicians Accepted into Auditioned Choral and Band Ensembles

    After rigorous auditions, five Shipley musicians have been accepted into auditioned choral and band ensembles including the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District 11 Chorus, the American Choral Directors Association National Honors Choir, and the Philadelphia Youth Symphonic Band.
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Meet the Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Phillip Brown

    Phillip Brown 

    Upper School Theater Director
    Phone/Extension: 4267
  • Photo of Emma Gibson

    Emma Gibson 

    Phone/Extension: 4294
  • Photo of Arvelle Jones

    Arvelle Jones 

    Middle School Theater Director, Middle School Drama Teacher
    Phone/Extension: 4112
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.