The Dalton Theatre Department’s mission is to build a collaborative and creative community of theatre artists through classes, productions, and independent projects. Theater classes engage and challenge students in every aspect of theatre -- acting, directing, stagecraft, design, and writing -- and help them further develop these skills as they progress through the program. Projects and assignments are designed to nurture collaborative relationships among young theatre artists and help them develop habits of observation, self-study, and a lively theatrical imagination. The curriculum is oriented to empower students to create original theater pieces in a variety of different styles. Both faculty and student-directed productions present to the community a broad range of dramatic literature with students engaged in all technical and artistic aspects of each show.
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. Students study the fundamentals of naturalistic acting technique and are also introduced to a wide variety of creative theater and movement skills and styles. The faculty 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 ops. We encourage interested students to actively assist our set, costume, sound, and lighting designers.
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. Moving Image Workshop, which fully involves students in developing the design and technical skills needed to make a short film.
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.