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.

  • "Americans Who Tell the Truth: Portraits by Robert Shutterly"

    "Americans Who Tell the Truth: Portraits by Robert Shutterly" is on display in Shipley's Speer Gallery from February 1 - 28, 2023.
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  • Art Teacher Bonnie Goldstein's Work on Display

    You can see Lower School Art Teacher Bonnie Goldstein's new work in "Beyond Boundaries" an exhibit on display at 705 West Printshop + Gallery in Jenkintown. An opening reception is being held on Sunday, December 4 from 2:00 - 5:00 pm.
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  • Theater Director Phillip Brown Stars in The Royale

    Catch Theater Director Phillip Brown as he stars in the Lantern Theater Company’s Philadelphia premiere production of The Royale by Marco Ramirez, onstage through December 11, 2022, at St. Stephen’s Theater.
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  • Studio Art 2 Students Help Paint Mural in Media, PA

    When Upper School Art Teacher Tania O’Donnell’s design was selected as the next traffic calming mural in Media, she knew she had to involve her art students in the process. 
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  • Carlos Casilla Wins Outstanding Young Conductor Award

    Congratulations to Director of Choirs, Carlos Casilla, for receiving The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Outstanding Young Conductor Award, which recognizes the efforts of a new or aspiring choral director who, in their first 3 to 5 years of experience has already demonstrated outstanding leadership or musicianship in the field of choral music.
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  • PUBLIC/PRIVATE: The Photography of Chris Peters

    PUBLIC/PRIVATE: The Photography of Chris Peters is on display in Shipley's Speer Gallery from March 1 - April 12, 2022.
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  • Peter Makela '04 Named Fulbright Scholar

    In April 2022, artist Peter Makela ’04 will travel to Nepal as a Fulbright Scholar. He’ll spend 10 months in the Kathmandu Valley pursuing his project, “The Radiant Emptiness of Space: Madhyamaka and Contemplative Perception,” while studying Madhyamaka philosophy at Rangjung Yeshe University, the world’s preeminent English-speaking Buddhist university. Learn more about Makela and his work.
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  • Upper School students in the Advanced Music Composition and Production class observe as their musical compositions are performed  by the fifth grade music ensemble, directed by Harley Givler.

    Academic Spotlight on Music: Writing for the Band & an Audience

    Students in Chris Oatts’ Advanced Music Composition and Production class don’t just learn about the theory and building blocks of writing music. Starting early in the year, the advanced music students compose songs that actually get played by Shipley’s music ensembles. Oatts, an experienced professional musician, knows that “The most fun part of being a composer is actually hearing your music playing.”
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  • Fostering Creative Problem-Solving in Upper School Art

    “I’m not teaching drawing, painting, or printmaking. I’m teaching creative problem-solving,” says Upper School art teacher Meredith Turner. “My students may never draw, paint, or make a print again, but they’ll have to represent themselves both visually and verbally in the workplace. They’ll have to be willing to take risks, try new things, and make mistakes along the way in order to solve problems.”
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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 

    Upper School Theater Teacher
    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.