On stage, students’ natural energy and expressiveness manifest as both art and entertainment. Young performers at all levels in St. James’ theater arts program benefit from numerous opportunities throughout the year to showcase their skills and creativity for the whole community to enjoy.
Integrating performance projects with academics, the theater arts program at St. James’ consists of training in dramatic acting, writing, and literacy. Students are exposed to significant theatrical literature and enact a variety of productions, from short plays to full-blown musicals. Along the way, students analyze themes in the scripts they read and learn to become more effective leaders, communicators, and team players. Connections to school curriculum enhance students’ learning in all academic areas. Ultimately, graduates of the theater program come away with personal and artistic skills that serve them on and off the stage.
By Grade Level
Kindergarten & 1st Grade
2nd-graders develop original skits based on American colonial life, focusing especially on the interactions between European pilgrims and Native Americans. In the process of creating and acting out their own scripts, students discover the power of words to convey expressive meaning and learn empathetically about the experiences of people living in early America.
The 4th-grade curriculum knits theater arts together with social studies. In weekly hour-long classes, students convey humor, empathy, and important life lessons in dramatized versions of Native American myths that they have studied. 4th-graders also study the history of cinema in the 20th century, focusing especially on the work of comedians like Charlie Chaplin.
The 5th-grade curriculum centers on putting on a musical, with a script selected to highlight lessons the students have learned in social studies. Undertaking a musical project accommodates students’ different learning modalities and reinforces the script’s academic content, bringing it vividly and memorably to life.
6th-graders study the myths of ancient Greece, then write their own plays based on these myths and perform them. They also enjoy a field trip to the Greek Theatre. As part of the 6th Grade Intensives program each March, groups of students engage in a week-long deep-dive into specific topics; among the projects students can choose are Shakespearean literature and performance, screenwriting, and aerial performance.