Throughout the Middle and Upper School years, the theatre program takes a more comprehensive look at the world of theatre, including the opportunity to perform the works of Shakespeare and dramatic plays. Our Middle School students participated in a Shakespeare festival after reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, or Romeo and Juliet. The students choose scenes that reach them in an individual way. Text analysis and character development are the primary goals of this project. The scenes are studied, blocked, and rehearsed. This project is based on the Shakespeare & Co. model as performed in the New England Shakespeare Festival. Students discover that the context of Shakespeare’s plays is best understood through performance.
The Upper School Theatre program presents two main stage shows per year: Fall Play and Spring Musical. The Middle School has one main stage production per year, alternating between a play and musical. Students audition for roles or may volunteer for tech/crew. Our program strives to give students a place to explore, create, take risks and be themselves. We select material that not only entertains but also challenges students to go a little deeper. Students have demonstrated their talents in such shows as The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Avenue Q, Circle Mirror Transformation, Rumors, Godspell, The Sound of Music, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Boeing Boeing and The Drowsy Chaperone. Students may also participate in Theatre classes, club, and our Arts Scholar program. We also offer a week-long summer intensive and Broadway masterclasses through our Footlights program. Past guest artists have included Jonathan Groff and Celia Kenan-Bolger.
Theatre is such an integral part of an educational institution. It encourages students to take risks, think critically, and to actively engage in the creative process. It offers students a fun and safe place, not only to develop theatre skills, but also skills they can use in any field they choose to pursue. Theatre helps students find their voice, and Portledge, which strongly supports the performing arts, is always striving to help students find that voice.