Through classes in improvisation, mime, scene study and play production, students develop the skills of vocal and physical expression which make them effective communicators.
Rehearsal and performance of classic and contemporary plays, along with student-generated and original scripts, provide students with the opportunity to develop additional skills of collaboration and cooperation.
Upper School: Act Out!
This course is a fun, hands-on way to learn about acting in the theatre. The course is designed for students new to theater as well as for those who want to hone their dramatic skills. During the first several weeks, the entire class meets and works together to build ensemble through theater games, improvisation, and acting exercises. Then, students split into two groups and tackle more in-depth improvisation or work on scenes from comedic and dramatic plays. Students also attend productions both at NWS and in the vibrant Seattle community, exploring how to take a character from page to stage.
Upper School: Film
This course is an exploration of the art of film through scene work, screenwriting, production, and film analysis. Students have the opportunity to explore different areas of the medium according to their interests. Possible projects include music videos, commercials, video shorts, and documentaries. Class time will be spent performing and viewing class work and videos, and designing and shooting film projects.
Upper School: Mime, Mask, and Improvisation
This class is designed for actors and dancers who want to enrich their physical theater skills. It's a great class for experienced performers but can also be an appropriate course for dedicated beginners who are comfortable taking risks and want to try their hand at mask, theater, mime illusion, and advanced improvisation. After introductory units in the three main disciplines, the ensemble spends several weeks creating new work which it then performs in a variety of venues, including a full production at the end of the year.
Upper School: Play Production Ensemble
This is an intensive year-long performance class for the serious theatre student. Actors rehearse and perform several productions during the year for the general public, including three full-length productions, a touring play, and the One-Act Play Festival. Auditions are required and casting for each play is done according to the demands of each production and the schedule conflicts of the ensemble members. It is also possible to be a stage manager or costume designer for the productions.
Theatre Productions 2015-2016:
December 2015: Full-length play directed by Ellen Graham
February 2016: Full-length play directed by Laura Ferri
May/June 2016: Full-length play; Touring Show; One-Act Play Festival
Upper School: Spoken Word
This course is a journey through performance poetry. Students discover their voice through the study and creation of poetry, and illuminate this voice in performance. Students collaborate with other artistic disciplines, including music and movement, and view current cultural issues through a critical lens. This course is seriously fun. Students will refine skills writing and editing poetry, public speaking, improvisation, collaborative writing, hip hop lyricism, and personal reflection. Writers and seasoned stage performers alike can expect to leave the class articulating their thoughts with more clarity and deeper confidence as they engage their world.
Upper School: Stagecraft
This course introduces students to a basic understanding of principles of scenic design, lighting design, sound design, costume design, stage management, and other technical aspects of the theatre. All students learn how to build a set with power tools, hang lights, wire theatre electrics, build sound cues, and create costumes. Select students learn stage management, costume construction, and programming light boards. Students in this class act as the technical staff for the Upper School play productions, gaining experience in a real-world environment. Students are required to attend all theatre productions, and work backstage on at least one crew.
Upper School: Theatre as Communication (ESL 9)
This course is required for international students who are enrolled in the 9th grade ESL program at The Northwest School. Students in this class develop their English pronunciation skills, learn to work together as a community, and strengthen their English speaking skills through in-class creative drama, improvisation, scene study, and creating short films about their lives at the school.
Middle School: Drama
This class for 6th graders explores foundations of the art of theatre through creative drama, improvisation, and other interdisciplinary arts activities. Students learn to use their “theatre voice” to express ideas about their identity and their community.
Middle School: Improv Theater
This class focuses on developing spontaneous storytelling, collaboration, creative problem solving, and character development skills. Students participate in fun, warm-up exercises and performance games, and put on a final performance.
Middle School: Intermediate Play Production
This is an intermediate performance class. It’s designed for students interested in developing their acting skills through the performance of a play adapted for the group. The fall production focuses on dramatic work and requires discipline and focus. Students work on character histories, objective, movement, and voice. This class also helps prepare students for Advanced Theater. There are a few spots open for students interested in technical theater, such as costuming and stage management.
Middle School: Advanced Theatre
An intensive, full-year course designed to strengthen each student’s acting technique while building an ensemble that performs twice a year. Strong concentration and cooperation skills are essential for this class. Students wishing to be in a fall performance must audition in the spring.
Middle School: The Storytellers
This course will be an opportunity for students to learn the oldest form of theatre: oral storytelling. Funny moments, ghost stories, sad events, or a mix of it all will grace the page and the stage. Students learn to create their own monologues, or “solo-shows”, and perform their original stories for the community.
Middle School: Play Production
Learn the ins and outs of acting in and producing a play. Be a part of the rehearsal and performance process. Guest speakers from the industry may include designer, directors, stage managers and actors.
Middle School: Upper Level Improv
This is an improvisational theatre class for students who have already done improve and are serious about taking their skills to the next level. Students go into greater depth with characters and stories through short and long-form improvisation.
Middle School: Art of Auditioning
This exciting class teaches students how to prepare a monologue for theatre auditions. They practice the fine art of cold side readings (aka. audition scripts and scenes). In the end, each student knows how to "own" the audition room.
Middle School: Come Play!
Have you ever wanted to tell a story? Have you ever wanted to see your story on the stage? In this class we work with scripts from known playwrights and also scripts the students write. We work on character development, improvisation, movement, and theater games, to bring both sorts of scripts to life.