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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. 

theater2_-_edit.jpgIntegrating 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

Kindergarteners and 1st-graders delve into the theatrical works of Shakespeare. The weekly half-hour classes engage students in the themes and terminology of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.

2nd 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.


3rd Grade

3rd-graders connect drama to history by enacting mini-plays about American pioneers. These activities allow them to envision life in America as it was hundreds of years ago, and to internalize what they learn in social studies.

4th Grade

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.

5th Grade

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 Grade

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.