The mission of the Dalton Theatre Department is to build a collaborative and creative community of theatre artists through our classes, productions, and independent projects. We are proud offer curriculum that introduces students to every aspect of theatre—acting, performance, directing, stagecraft, design, and writing--and helps develop these skills further as students progress through the program. We look to nurture collaborative relationships among young theatre artists and help them develop habits of observation, self-study and a love of theatre. We encourage the development of a lively theatrical imagination with the goal of empowering our students to create original theater pieces in a variety of different styles. With our productions we look to present to the Dalton community a broad range of dramatic literature and performance styles. We also try as best we can to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to participate.
The Theatre Department offers students with wide ranges of ability, experience, and areas of interest opportunities to study acting, directing, stagecraft, playwriting, and design. All students are welcome to participate in the program regardless of prior experience; no one is graded on talent but on effort, interest, and consistency of commitment. We study the fundamentals of naturalistic acting technique and also introduce our students to wide variety of creative theater and movement skills. We also promote the development and exploration of student-written material as the basis for many of the texts used in class.
Most theatre courses are open to all students without prerequisite.
The Department produces a faculty-directed main-stage production each fall and winter, followed by senior projects every spring. All high school students are eligible for participation in these productions and roles are determined by open auditions at the discretion of the director. Sets are built by the Stagecraft classes as part of their class curriculum. Students are also encouraged to participate in the productions in the roles of stage manager, production stage manager, assistant designer, assistant director, and board op.
DESIGN AND TECHNICAL THEATRE PROGRAM
Those wishing to explore design and technical theatre have two unique practical opportunities: 1. Stagecraft Class, where the focus is on building the sets for the plays while working with hand and power tools, engineering special effects, and learning scenic painting, basic rigging, and carpentry skills. 2. Production Design Studio, where students work on a year-long project developing all the production and design requirements to bring that project to successful fruition.
To be certain that every student experiences the interdependence between actors performing and those supporting them technically, all students registered for theatre courses are required to work “Crew Calls" that are arranged by the technical staff for lighting, set building, painting, and other projects in support of departmental productions. There are many opportunities to fulfill this requirement throughout the year, after school, in the evenings, and on weekends.
Attendance is closely monitored and, since most coursework takes place in class, regular, energetic participation is essential. Students who are frequently absent for any reason, excused or otherwise, cannot expect to do as well as those who are in regular attendance.
THEATRE SENIOR PROJECTS
The Dalton Theatre department offers students who demonstrate a strong commitment to the program an opportunity to produce a Senior Project. No major is offered in theatre, but a senior project is regarded as the capstone to a Dalton theatre career. Senior Projects may be proposed in directing, design, acting, and playwriting and are performed every year in May.