In Westtown’s theater program, students learn to use their bodies, voices, and imaginations to create something for their community.
Westtown’s in-depth program utilizes the stage to animate the essential skills of critical thinking, communication, and empathy; Through the craft of storytelling, students are empowered to incite those skills in others.
Although Westtown’s campus is 600 acres, the Meeting House and the theater are within yards of each other. In partnership with Quaker traditions, we see theater as a sibling to the meeting house, where strangers and friends alike gather in fellowship to question, celebrate, and rehearse humanity.
Located in the evocative landscape of the Brandywine Valley and within travel distance to the hubs of cutting-edge theater, Philadelphia and New York City, Westtown believes in the humble wisdom that the more you do something, the better you get at it.
The classroom, rehearsal hall, scene shop, and light booth all serve as hands-on labs for project-based challenges that necessitate resourcefulness and creative problem-solving, preparing students for direct action as citizen artists.
Our program has three branches: the curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular. Students are encouraged to participate in any or all aspects of theater.
Curricular: We offer a variety of academic day courses that fulfill the arts requirement. In classes, students are consciously exposed to both over-praised and overlooked classical and contemporary artists and artworks who’ve dictated the shape and influenced the soul of theater in the United States. Westtonians experiment with languages of the stage while exploring the political and cultural power of performance.
As artists, students develop a toolbox of vocabulary, exercises, techniques, styles, and approaches to embodying characters with athleticism, humanism, and joy. With the guidance of global guest artists, artistic advisors, and speakers, students devise theater while feeding a critical prowess that deconstructs theater-making norms, rules, and aesthetics.
Seniors prepared to pursue the remarkable and multifaceted study of theater in college will receive rigorous, individualized coaching for competitive auditions and opportunities for independent study to distinguish their portfolio.
Co-Curricular: We produce three Main Stage productions a year, which rehearse during the after school co-curricular period. Actors who sign up to perform will audition at the start of each trimester. Students can also participate in Scenic Arts Design, where they will create the sets, props and costumes for the productions. Experienced students often serve as designers, choreographers, stage managers, and assistant directors.
Each season explores a central theme and our productions come from diverse source material, including contemporary naturalistic texts, Shakespeare, ancient and early modern texts, devised theater, and an annual winter musical. Recent productions have included: Rent, Our Town, Fiddler on the Roof, The Secret in the Wings, Big Love, Into the Woods, and A Midsummer
Extra-Curricular: Students may also participate in theater during club periods, evenings, and weekends. Interested students can join the Light and Audio Design Club, the Drama Club, the Make-Up Crew, and the backstage crew where they can help to run the productions. These students play an important role in bringing our productions to performance.
Annual Theater Productions
Fall: Upper School Play
Winter: Upper School Story Slam Upper School Improvisation Show Middle School Production
Spring: 5th Grade Story Slam Upper School Musical
Upper School Fall Play Cycle
Adaptation of a classical or Shakespeare Play
Middle School Winter Production Cycle:
Upper School Spring Musical Cycle:
New Work Contemporary
Scenic Arts Design: Every season students in Scenic Arts Design collaborate on the behind the scenes work of our theater productions. These elements include but are not limited to: design, construction, engineering and creative process. Students will have the opportunity to concentrate on several disciplines: scenery, props, paint, lighting, audio and costumes. Advanced students may be given design or backstage crew opportunities.
Upper School Theater Curricular Progression:
Elements of TheaterTheater Studies: Page to Stage
Storytelling and Performance Performance: Oration and Storytelling
Acting WorkshopTechnique and Craft
Theater Arts (Adv.)Rotating topics: Verbatim Theater, Monologues and Auditions, Theater Design
Performing Arts Advanced TutorialIndividualized Study: Performance, Dramaturgy, Playwriting, Directing