Lower SchoolThe VMS theatre program begins in grade four providing a developmentally appropriate introduction to external acting. They also learn the etiquette and language of theatre and stage direction, as well as the function of physical elements like props, sets, lighting, and microphones. By the end of grade five, our young actors and actresses have developed a solid foundation and are well-prepared to embrace the rigor of middle school theatre program.
Middle SchoolStudents in grades six through eight have significant opportunities to develop and showcase their talent as actors, singers, and dancers. Theatre class spans the entire year and is primarily focused on the annual middle school spring production with additional projects that involve both scripted and improvisational performance. Where lower school students may have played simple, one-dimensional characters to which they could easily relate, middle school students are challenged to take on roles that are a significant stretch, such as a 40 year old widow or someone of a culture or gender different than their own. On the outside, the focus is on developing nuanced, authentic patterns of speech and body language. Simultaneously, on the inside, students are pressed to embrace the internal motivations and feelings experienced by their character. Middle school students also have the opportunity to work behind the scenes on lights and sound, stage direction, or set design.
PHOTOS: Hollywood Hotel
Upper SchoolOur goal as a school is to provide a rigorous, liberal arts experience that will prepare students to excel in college and thrive in life. By the time students reach grade nine, our hope is that they are increasingly self-directed and beginning to understand where their passions and talents lie. Upper school students may elect to participate in the theatre or musical theatre major. Upper school productions push students to grapple with issues such as religion, race, and political correctness, engaging them not only as actors, but also young adults developing opinions and exploring the world. In this way, the arts become a venue for students to explore higher moral, ethical, and societal issues. Upper school students interested in the technical aspects of theatre have the opportunity to work behind the scenes on lights and sound, stage direction, or set design.
Upper School Dance MajorLike our elite skiers, several of our upper school students participate in high-level dance programs outside of school. VMS has designed a theatre major specifically for these students that provides opportunities for them to showcase their talents as a part of school productions. While our dancers typically work many hours a day outside school, the dance major utilizes class time to learn choreography for the upper school spring musical and builds on the technical foundation and dance technique learned in their work outside VMS. Students may also play significant roles in setting choreography for our shows. As an example, the choreography for the 2017 spring musical, “Rock of Ages”, was developed by one of our dancers as her Senior Project.
VIDEO: West Side Story