Theater & Drama

The Academy’s Fine Arts program develops the creative potential in each student, a process which is both intellectual and experiential. A rich, varied experience in the arts is essential to educating the whole child, and the Fine Arts Department offers courses in the visual arts, music, dance, and theater.

[Click on a grade below to read the description]

List of 11 items.

  • Early Childhood (PK-K)

    Young children are provided opportunities to appear on stage as early as Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, when they wear their Halloween costumes to school and participate in the traditional school-wide Halloween parade. Each child, using a microphone, names the character he or she represents, thus beginning the experience of "acting" for an audience. In the Lower School, every grade provides similar, increasingly sophisticated opportunities to appear on stage and practice speaking before an audience.
  • Grade 1

    Students participate in weekly assemblies and grade level thematic productions generated by themes and curriculum. Grade 1 children participate in "The Circus," a show of music and songs about animals and life in the circus.
  • Grade 2

    Grade 2 students begin to feel more comfortable performing for a large audience after their performances in "Hooray for the USA," a show that honors the colors and music of the USA. Students participate in weekly assemblies and other grade-level productions generated by themes and curriculum. Morning meetings and oral reports provide many opportunities for developing confidence around sharing information in front of groups.
  • Grades 3-4

    Children participate in weekly assemblies and grade-level productions generated by themes and curriculum. Grade 3 students create a show around the 50 states as part of the Social Studies curriculum.
  • Grade 5

    By the time children are in Grade 5, they have been on stage dozens of times. Goals in Grade 5 include self-confidence, the ability to speak memorized and ad lib lines, and comfort in front of an audience. Children continue to participate in weekly assemblies. All Grade 5 students participate in the fully-staged Grade 5 music and dance production in the spring.
  • Grade 6

    Drama classes are offered as part of the Fine Arts elective cycle; each class develops skits and small plays to which parents, teachers, and students are invited. Typical plays include scenes from Shakespeare comedies (A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Twelfth Night). Students also engage in role plays and write original scripts for small group performances.
  • Grades 7-8

    Grade 7 and 8 students who perform in the Middle School musical elect the drama class during the first trimester, which provides the vehicle for preparing the play. Grade 8 students learn about theater as an art form through an introduction to dramatic literature, the job of the actor, and theater history. Preparation for the Middle School play forms the center of the first trimester drama course.
  • Grade 9

    Acting I is the introductory/pre-requisite for all other theater courses, providing an overview of theater as an art form with emphasis in three areas: dramatic literature, the job of the actor, and theater history and criticism. Students read a variety of plays and study various perspectives and genres of theater, while learning to be critics of the world of the play. As actors, students are introduced to the methods of Stanislavski and move onto Meisner and Uta Hagen. In the study of the physicality of the performer, students work in neutral mask and are introduced to the physical exercises of the Viewpoints method.
  • Grade 10

    Grade 10 students may elect Acting II, an intermediate course designed for the serious actor. It focuses on the process of character development using the world of the play and textual analysis. It also intensifies the need for both physical and emotional character development. Students may also elect Public Speaking, a class intended to give a broad introduction to the art of public speaking and on methods of effective delivery to various types of audiences.
  • Grade 11

    Grade 11 students elect either Performance Workshop, an advanced course emphasizing performance training through projects at different levels of difficulty and staging, or Technical Theater. In the workshop, actors are required to perform on a weekly basis and participate in competitions, plays, rehearsals, and performances. Technical Theater is a course designed for serious design students who wish to continue in their study and practice of technical theater. Students are introduced to design concept for scenic and lighting for both musical and non-musical plays.
  • Grade 12

    Grade 12 theater students focus on performance in the major musicals and full stage productions of the Senior School. They may also elect Film Studies, a course on the history and impact of motion pictures from their inception to their evolution as a central part of modern life, and Improvisation, a course that improves the skills of students at improvisational performance.

List of 2 members.

  • Matthew Griffin 

    Artistic Director
    Midwestern State University - B.F.A.
    Douglas Education Center - A.A.
  • Nathan Bell 

    Technical Director
    Chatham University - M.A.T.
    University of Pittsburgh - B.A.

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Sewickley Academy
315 Academy Avenue
Sewickley, PA 15143
Sewickley Academy is a nationally recognized Pittsburgh private school enrolling students in Pre-K through Grade 12 on a single campus.