The Theatre Arts Academy curriculum develops young artists through practical study of an array of techniques and disciplines. Students act, write, and direct. They study contemporary and classical genres, engage in movement-based theatre, devised composition, and theatre for social change. The curriculum is process-based and experiential. In classes, students develop concentration, personal discipline, and a respect for the art and the artist. Except where noted (*), the Theatre courses below require admittance into the Theatre Academy. Courses include:
The Actor and The Tools AB - Core/College Preparatory
The focus of this course is twofold. Via script reading and analysis, research, and dramatic projects, students develop a foundational understanding of the history of Theatre. Also, via vocal work, ensemble exercises, improvisation, authentic response, and performance students hone the tools necessary for any dramatic artist. This course culminates in a devised theatre presentation -- an original production based on myth, tales, or legend.
Physical Education for 9th & 10th grade Performing Arts studentsDance, Tap, Physical Theatre & Vocal Performance(Non-college preparatory) This course fulfills students’ Physical Education credit, and prepares students for Physical Fitness Testing. Physical Techniques allows Performing Arts Academy students to work across all performing arts disciplines- Dance (Jazz/Tap), Theatre, and Music. Physical Techniques 9/10 is a wheel course in which students spend eight-ten weeks in two units of in-depth study. Every 8-10 weeks, students rotate into two new units of study. Coursework covers: Dance (jazz & tap) technique and vocabulary, Devised Theatre and movement, Dance Fitness, and Vocal Performance work. All units are “physical” in nature, and include cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, and endurance exercises. Students also run regularly. Students are given weekly assessment grades and are trained and tested for the PFT in 6 areas: mile run, push-ups, curl-ups, trunk lift, flexibility, and Body Mass Index. Each unit culminates with a benchmark performance.
Acting 10 AB - Core/College Preparatory
Acting 10 builds on the foundations set in the previous year in The Actor & The Tools. Acting 10 takes each component: voice, diction, improvisation, movement, character development, and scene study to a deeper level of integration and practice. The vocal work focuses on expanding the student’s range, breath capacity, and the ability to produce a fully supported sound on stage. Improvisation and movement exercises offer students more complex, compositional challenges. Students explore specific character development and script analysis techniques to enrich focus and depth in performance. Along the way, students study the historical and cultural significance of classic/contemporary plays and theatre movements. This course culminates in a production showcasing student work.
Classical Genres AB - Core/College Preparatory
Classical Genres trains the student to develop a basic proficiency in the expression, understanding and speaking of Shakespeare, Moliere, Chekhov, and Tennessee Williams. Students acquire these skills by engaging and mastering various vigorous physical and verbal exercises that enable them to understand the body, the state of readiness, the breath and the voice and how these principles relate to the study of these important dramatists’ work. Included in this course are multiple scene presentations, focusing on actor’s adjustments, and Spring DTASC participation.
Acting 11 AB - Core/College preparatory
This course explores the world of movement and its relationship to the actor. An articulate and expressive body is connected to all of its parts; it is fluid, eloquent and free from tension. There are two elements to this course of study: Movement Training and Physical Theatre Composition. Movement Training helps the actor to develop body awareness, physical strength, a meaningful relationship to the surrounding environment and an ability to work from an active center - Body Weather Laboratory, Viewpoints and Laban Movement are core elements of the movement training curriculum. Physical Theatre Composition will explore the world of Butoh, expressionistic movement, and the impact of movement theatre and performance art. The work in this course will be individual and collaborative - rooted in symbolic and imaginative exploration.
Contemporary Theatre - Core/College Preparatory
The first semester of this course addresses Theatre for Social Change. In doing so, students apply the skills they have learned to explore current “social problem plays” and how theatre can impact a positive change in the world around us. The second semester of this course focuses on playwriting, including the reading and analysis of contemporary texts, along with the development, composition, and staged-readings of student written one-act plays. Many of these new plays will ultimately be produced in the Academy’s annual One-Act Festival.
Acting 12 AB - Core/College Preparatory
Acting 12 focuses on the culmination of the student actors’ four years in the Theatre Academy at CHAMPS. Students learn on practical techniques in conjunction with social responsibility, as well as performance, audition, and artistic preparation for entering colleges, universities, and preparation for the professional arena. Students choose and prepare a minimum of four audition pieces, two classical and two contemporary. In addition, the student actor evolves to demonstrate self-awareness of their strengths and versatility as well as to develop practical skills for audition preparation refining their aesthetic perspectives and strengthening their self-critique skills. This course will also explore cold-reading proficiency.
Senior Play Production AB – Core/College Preparatory
The course plunges students into the art of theater direction. Through script study, personal reflections, exercises, design projects, casting, rehearsal, and performance, students develop a basic understanding of this bountiful, immeasurable artistic process. During the second semester, this course addresses a wide variety of production experience, including voice-over workshopping and stage combat with weapons. Selected seniors will direct student-written one-acts. All class members also take part in a large-scale, culminating production involving an evocative work that explores pertinent issues in our society.