SPECIAL EVENTS &COLLABORATIONS
Imagine a talent show where the performers, hosts and audience are asked to speak any language other than English. The Theatre department collaborated with the World & Classical Language department to create a world that challenged students to look at things a little differently. By turning the tables on traditional expectations and mixing a social experiment with a coffee house environment, students and faculty were treated to a unique evening that became an anticipated event.
THE RAP BATTLE
Driven by students who wanted an event that offered a different vibe than the established coffee houses, each year the Rap Battle featured performances, guest MCs, and a freestyle battle that showcased verbal ingenuity and rhythmic dexterity.
THE CORAL REEF
Inspired by the question of whether it was possible to create a collaborative event combining theatre and ceramics, this interactive "undersea" exhibit featured a custom soundscape, lighting, haze, and a special pre-bedtime reading of "The Rainbow Fish" for faculty children. High school students found the exhibit a welcome spot to de-stress during the weekend before exams. The following year, a cactus garden bloomed in the same space.
THE MANGO STREET PROJECT
A discussion among students in an acting class which revealed levels of Spanish language proficiency ranging from a struggling Spanish 1 student to those raised in bilingual homes, led to the creation of a bilingual performance piece based on Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street. Spanish classes became the audience for a presentation that blended English, Spanish, written text and movement.
PERFORMING AT VTA & SETC
Theatre students learned about the process of literally taking a show on the road by heading to the State Festival, where we were selected as winners out of 60 schools. Next Step: traveling to the South East Theatre Conference, where the best two high school plays from each of 10 southern states perform and compete. (We won Best Supporting Actor, Best Costumes, All-Star Cast, and were ranked in the top 5.) In addition to planning and packing sets, costumes, and props for the one-act play, students participated in workshops and master classes on design, dance, acting, playwrighitng, and diversity and inclusion in the arts.
THE FOLGER SECONDARY SCHOOL SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Held at The Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC, this all-day event encourages students to be each other's cheerleaders, not their competitors while sharing stripped-down excerpts from Shakespeare's plays on a professional stage.
GUEST ARTIST: JUSTIN WEAKS
Helen Hayes Award-winning actor Justin Weaks drops by to talk about his work and life as an actor with current theatre students. The always mesmerizing Weaks speaks with honesty, passion, and a deep knowledge of the craft of acting. (before launching his impressive career, Weaks was a beloved student in Meg O'Connor's middle and upper school theatre program at Cannon School in North Carolina.) Students have traveled to the Kennedy Center and Theatre Alliance to see him performing live on stage.
Bring your roommate, bring your friends, and spend some time helping to build the set for the upcoming show. Many students who drop by to learn how to use power tools or scenic painting skills wind up enjoying themselves and often audition for a future show.
FIELD TRIPS: SYNETIC THEATER
This cutting-edge and award-winning theatre company uses movement, mime and dance to tell classic stories like you've never seen them before: without spoken language, but absolutely clear language of gesture and emotion. Our trips included Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde.
EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL
The American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF) assists school theatre programs in producing a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Although it's an incredible feat of planning and organization, the end result is a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the world's largest performing arts festival.
FAMILY DAY AT DRESS REHEARSAL
When the final dress rehearsal for the musical happens during afternoon activity, the run becomes a perfect opportunity to invite faculty children who aren't ready to stay up late for the big show. Singing, dancing in the aisles, asking loud questions and coming and going freely are all encouraged.
THE 24 HOUR PLAY FESTIVAL
As part of the VA Performing Arts program, this 24-Hour whirlwind project allows students and faculty alike a chance to take a break from the books and the slopes to dip a toe in the theatre with this silly, fast-paced, community-building event.