Westtown Middle School students learn to be motivated, kind, and collaborative citizens while developing their skills in our performing arts programs. Through participation in classes and ensembles, students discover the joy of working with others to create something new.
Every year, each middle school student participates in a performing music ensemble or music skills class. In each class, students work to develop their musical literacy, aural skills, composition skills, and an appreciation for a diverse selection of repertoire.
Our performing ensembles consist of Concert Band, Orchestra, and Chorus. Students in all three grades may elect to participate in one of these ensembles. Students in 7th and 8th grade may also elect to take classes in music composition and music skill development. All 6th grade students participate in a Creative Process arts class, exploring the creative worlds of Music and Movement, Theater, and Visual Art. Students learn to be interdisciplinary thinkers, as they craft their own tools of expression.
Our students have the opportunity to shine in theater classes as part of our arts rotation. Through these courses, students develop the essential skills of creative thinking, collaboration, personal agency, critique, and persistence, while improving their sense of self-confidence and joy.
In 7th grade, students discover how words become visible in theater design. Through explorations in scenic, costume and lighting design, students collaborate to create their own visual interpretations of theater texts.
The 8th grade acting class is meant for everybody, supporting students who have an instinct for the stage, and those who might be resistant to public performance. Intentional theater games are played as joyful and affirmative tools to rehearse the vital skills of collaboration, critique, and artistic creation. The only supplies needed are a student’s imagination, voice, and body. In acting class, students embrace their experiences of life and learn to share them with others. With no leading roles or artistic hierarchies, this class redefines what school theater means.
Each year, the Middle School produces a fully-staged production. Working with our professional director and design staff, students are given the opportunity to act, stage manage, build sets, serve on the tech and light crews, and even serve as designers. Every three years each grade produces a production of a Shakespeare Play as part of the Middle School Shakespeare Festival, a tradition going back to 1994! In rehearsals, students approach Shakespeare as a social justice imperative rather than a demigod. The stories, characters, and language of Shakespeare’s plays are used as a vehicle to enhance the skills of analysis, interpretation, expression, and humanism. Using performance as a tool, students deploy Shakespeare’s stories as a free, shared mythology of the public domain, accessible to all—not few.