High School
Departments & Courses, In Brief

High School Courses


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 to 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 assist them to 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 with the help of the actors in each production. 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.
Those wishing to explore design and technical theatre have broad opportunities beyond the courses offered in Design and Stagecraft. There are opportunities to become directly in the many technical components of each show--costumes, lights, set construction, sound design, props, running crew and stage management. Under the supervision of Technical Director, students engineer special effects, build, paint, hang, light, fly, rig, and generally create theatre magic the old-fashioned way—by hand. Students handle much of the lighting, sound, and set-up for assemblies and special events in the Martin Theatre. Many receive course credit for this work through the Theatre Apprenticeship Program (TAP, #791, below).
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 course work 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.
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.
Senior projects are one of the components of the annual TheaterFest. TheaterFest takes in May when selected work developed in all the performance and design classes are presented in a variety of spaces throughout the building.
The students whose projects the department selects to go forward will articulate a well thought-out proposal by May 15 of their junior year. The department must judge that the material is appropriate and the scenic requirements are within strict limitations. The student must have fulfilled the course requirements as set forth below and have established a convincing record of accomplishment in the department, demonstrating initiative, follow-through, and collaborative skills. Students proposing Senior Projects will be encouraged to collaborate with each other whenever possible.
Students considering undertaking a Senior Project should formally discuss their intentions with department faculty before spring break of their junior year.
Acting Studio 1 year
Performance Workshop 2 years
Stage manage one main-stage production or senior project
Stagecraft 1 year or serve on 1 building crew and 1 running crew
Production Workshop 1 year
Design for Stage   1 year
Stagecraft 1 year or serve on 1 building crew and 1 running crew
Assistant Designer position on a main-stage show
For more information visit the Theatre Arts program page
  • Acting Studio

    A lively introduction to a variety of acting and performance experiences including units devoted to naturalistic acting style; scene study; improvisation; developing original monologues, devising short performance pieces; speaking verse, set design projects. Focus is on collaboration, theatrical exploration, and developing strong rehearsal skills.
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Design For Stage

    Design students work on a broad range of studio projects in drama, musical theater and/or dance and performance. Designers in this course assist on faculty-directed productions in the Martin Theater for the fall and winter as Associate Designers and are welcomed to be part in the collaboration and production process. As final projects for the semester, designers are invited to collaborate with Directing Students and DTW choreographers on a production.
    No experience necessary, though some knowledge of drawing is useful. Architecture, Drawing, Assemblage, Dance and Stagecraft students from last year are encouraged to enroll.
    Full Year Enrollment, 1.0 credit 
  • IS: Theater

    Description currently unavailable.
  • Lighting Design

    Students may also choose within TAP to work specifically in lighting. This section of TAP, encompasses the fundamentals of lighting design, including qualities of light, optics, color theory, electricity, lighting technology, computer modeling and visualization, and control systems. The class includes practical experience by being responsible for hanging, focusing, and designing mainstage shows.
    Prerequisites:  for TMAP – Stagecraft and departmental permission
    for TAP – none
    for Lighting Design – 1 year Computer Science  or permission from instructor.
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit
  • Performance Workshop

    The goal of the class is for the students to direct, design and perform a series of theater challenges that explore a variety of performance styles. Devising creative theatrical solutions to these challenges allows the students to explore a dynamic range of directorial choices, acting styles, and design elements in a variety of performance modes. In addition to naturalistic scene work, visiting artists will conduct workshops in puppetry, masks, clowning, speaking verse, and musical theater. Material rehearsed and developed in class will be performed at TheaterFest.
    Prerequisite: 1 year of Acting Studio
  • Senior Performance

    An advanced studio for those who have taken two years of theater classes or by invitation of the department. Students work in class on rehearsing short plays (original or existing) and/or solo performance pieces to be performed at TheaterFest. This course is mandatory for those students intending to do a senior project.
    First semester – two meetings per week – 0.25 credits
  • Stagecraft and Production

    This is a practical course in which students study the art and craft of stage production: lighting, scene painting, stage management, prop and scenic construction and sewing. Students undertake assignments in which they, as members of the Dalton Theatre and Dance community, work in teams to hone their skills by building and running actual productions in the Martin Theater and B-06.
    Full Year Course, 1.0 credit 
  • Theatre Apprenticeship

    These programs give academic credit to students who make substantial contributions to theatre department productions. They offer opportunities for those with little or no training and experience (Apprentices) as well as for skilled, seasoned student technicians and designers (Master Apprentices).  No experience or pre-requisite is required to participate as an Apprentice, and students who’ve taken Stagecraft and worked on shows may be designated “Master Apprentice” at the discretion of the design and technical faculty.  All apprentices (including masters) must devote one interval per week to production support or in-depth training and will gather once a month for special projects and instruction.  Each TAP and TMAP must serve for eight “quads” (4-hour work calls) in support of production and complete three crew assignments in the course of the year.
    Master apprentices may serve in such peer leadership positions as master carpenter, master electrician, assistant designer, scenic artist, or stage manager.  Advanced training and supplemental skill development in these areas are required of those in student leadership positions.


  • Robert Sloan

    Middle and High School Theatre Teacher and Theatre Department Chair
    (212) 423-5212
    Brown University - B.A.
  • Ernie Johns

    Technical Director
    Virginia Commonwealth University - B.F.A.
    Brooklyn College - M.F.A.
  • Margaret Zeder

    Middle and High School Theatre Arts and Design Teacher
    (212) 423-5532
    Scripps College - B.A.
    Holbourne Centre for Performing Arts, London
    N.Y.U. Tisch School of the Arts - M.F.A.