Curriculum Detail

Explore our Curriculum

Theater and Dance

  • Costume Design and Construction (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. From eco-friendly upcycled projects to traditional costume-making projects, students will have hands-on experience with the costume shop in terms of how to design and construct costumes for characters in various plays we read throughout the course. Through the process of fully realizing their vision, students will sketch, hand sew, embroider, knit/crochet, and machine sew. We will focus on how these various crafts can tell stories. The purpose is to collaborate as a team on an installation piece to create an experience for an audience.
  • Creative Theater Ensemble - Acting (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Creative Theatre Ensemble is a three-course sequence, with each term able to stand alone as an individual course. In this course, students will build on a foundation of improvisation techniques and apply them to character creation and script analysis. The course work will cover a variety of approaches to character development and performance craft. Students will learn how to actively read a play, research a role for that play and work with others to perform an entire script. Acting students will work toward mastery in vocal and physical techniques as well as collaborative storytelling. The final in this course will be a public performance that features the work of all students in the class. Previous experience in the theatre is encouraged but not required.
  • Creative Theater Ensemble - Devised Theatre (S)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Creative Theatre Ensemble is a three-course sequence, with each term able to stand alone as an individual course. In this course, students will develop an understanding of the creative process and will practice skills and methods to bring about an original piece of theatrical art. Students will start with a series of essential questions and will use a variety of theatrical techniques to build creative “moments” in response to these questions. The focus of the class is on creating artistic pieces that center design, choreography, technology and music, as well as poetry and non-fiction texts. Students will learn skills for creating individually, as well as in small and large groups. The final in this course will be a public showing of an original piece of theatre created by the ensemble. Previous experience in theatre is encouraged but not required.
  • Creative Theater Ensemble - Improvisation (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Creative Theatre Ensemble is a three-course sequence, with each term able to stand alone as an individual course. In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of improvisation as they collaborate to play games, create scenes, and explore contemporary social issues from a theatrical perspective. The focus of the class is on project-based learning with some readings and viewings to supplement the embodied practices of in-class exercises. Students will both create in the moment and collaboratively script scenes for performances. The final in this class is an open studio in which the community will be invited to attend and participate in a public performance. No previous experience on stage is required. 
  • Directing for the Stage (S)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. In this course, students will learn how to take a scripted piece through the various stages that culminate in a performance. Lessons will focus on reading texts for playable actions and theatrical throughline, creating vision and implementing design ideas, understanding staging and basic directing principles, and working through the final stages of the technical process and dress rehearsal. This class will feature guest artists who are professionals in the fields of design, directing, and choreography. Students will walk away with a toolkit of practical skills that will enable them to see a piece of dramatic literature through to fruition.
  • Physical Theater: Improvisation and Storytelling Through Movement (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. This course will focus on telling stories without words. Before we learn to speak we communicate through body language, so connecting through movement is already something we do every day. Through daily improvisation exercises, students will explore tools from a range of theater styles to broaden and enhance their communication and storytelling skills. The class will be both physical and collaborative, with the option to offer a final performance at the end of the term. This course will be co-taught with the Theater Department's Resident Movement Director.
  • Second Form Theater (F)

    Theater is a performing art form that brings a story to life. In this course, students learn how to engage in storytelling through expressive elements such as lighting, set, costumes, acting, directing, and sound. Working as a team, they will find their creative role and produce a performance at the end to demonstrate their understanding of the audience’s perspective and how to create a sensory experience from their imagination. Given the resources to explore global theater methods such as shadow puppetry, students will have the opportunity to express themselves through a universal language.
  • The Creative Process and Community Engagement (S)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. In this course, students will discover stories that exist in our community as they develop an understanding of the creative process. In daily exercises and homework assignments, students will explore a series of essential questions centered on social issues, then use a variety of theatrical techniques to build creative “moments” in response to these questions. In class, study will examine unconventional uses of theatrical lighting, sound, costume, set, and direction. Class will function as a laboratory in which students can experiment with symbolism, juxtaposition, and layering as ways of making meaning on stage. By the end of the term, students will string their collective moments into a performance showcase that will demonstrate how theater artistry can challenge our perceptions of the world around us.
  • Theater and the Creative Process (S)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. In this course, students will learn how to create original theatre pieces that are not bound to or by pre-written scripts. The focus of the class is on Moment Work, a devising process that explores and utilizes all the elements of the stage on an equal footing with the words (text). Participants will make “Moments” both collaboratively and individually, using gestures, movements, lighting, props, and sound. The class will conclude by sequencing moments into short performance pieces that will be presented in a public performance.
  • Theater Design in the Community (S)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. We will learn how theater can make an impact by cultivating inspiration from the stories that exist in our own community. The intention will be to learn from another member of our society that has a different perspective than our own through a series of interviews structured around compassion, mutual respect, and exchange in learning. Exploring nontraditional methods of storytelling, the class will curate a theatrically interactive experience for their audience using these memories. These interviews will range from fellow Groton students, staff, or faculty, but will also have an option to explore beyond our school grounds to collaborate with a local organization that intertwines with one’s personal connections to social issues. The foundation of this course is to open our perception of the world around us through the immersive experience of theater while building community.
  • Theater for Social Change: Documentary Theater (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. In this course, students will study the discipline of gathering and presenting documentary material onstage. Students will engage with theater-making through the lens of anthropologists/ethnographers. Throughout the course, students will learn and practice the fundamental skills of gathering stories by conducting a series of interviews with individuals based on a social issue of their choosing. These interviews will be the primary source material for a performance script that we will present as a public reading at the end of the term. As inspiration, students will study professional theater companies that specialize in ethno-drama and verbatim theater.
  • Theater Storytelling and Stagecraft (Y)

    In this course, students will deepen their understanding of theatrical storytelling as they explore the basic skills of public speaking, autobiographical writing, lighting design, costume design, sound design. The course is structured as a series of mini-units that provide hands-on experience of stagecraft skills, enabling students to become the "makers" of their own short theatre pieces. Students will study creative storytelling events such as The Moth and Suitcase Stories as models of how and why to tell their own stories on stage. Students may choose to focus on the stagecraft (backstage) aspect of theatre production, the onstage (performance) aspect of theatre production, or both. The class will culminate in a live storytelling event that will feature the work that the students have done over the course of the year.
  • Theater With a Global Perspective: The Asian Experience (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. Exploring the diverse spectrum of what it means to be Asian in the theater realm, students will discover plays and theater artists that empower the Asian experience, engage in conversations around cultural significance and values, and connect it to why it matters. The class will examine the elements of storytelling through compelling rituals, traditions, music, and crafts. Students will learn how to tell a story that shares their own personal connection to this invisible narrative. All are welcome to participate in this course as the most important aspect is the process of critical thinking: what, how, and why do these stories need to be told? The class will also facilitate connections with local guest artists who will offer workshops and discussions about their own work to demonstrate their methods.

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Laurie Sales
    Laurie Sales
    Theater and Dance Department Head, Director of Theater
    978-448-7280
    Bio
  • Photo of Brandt Belknap
    Brandt Belknap
    Technical Director
    978-448-7282
  • Geneviève Du Paul
    Dance Instructor
  • Photo of Nicole Harris
    Nicole Harris
    Movement Director, Theater
  • Photo of Elizabeth Phan
    Elizabeth Phan
    Director of Community Engagement
    978-448-7469
    Bio