Throughout 46 years of live-stage, state championship competition presented by the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild, the St. John’s Prep Drama Guild has reached the finals 42 times, winning 19 state titles. That extraordinary success is almost a footnote in the larger context of theater arts study at the School.
Opportunities are boundless—a whopping 30 percent of the Prep’s fine arts curriculum is devoted to some dimension of the theater arts. At the High School, beginning or maturing stage performers can enroll in four successive levels of acting instruction, including a full-year, Advanced Acting Technique course. The Middle School features three levels of core-course drama study from Grades 6 through 8.
Classroom settings are primarily hands-on and workshop-style as learners investigate basic to advanced techniques of speaking, listening, scene-building, tactical interplay, and voice/body integration for stage. Across the program of studies, the focus is on students having the space and time to refine their acting, auditioning, and public speaking skills, while taking advantage of opportunities that encourage collaboration and build self-confidence
Playwriting and directing instruction are also part of the curriculum, including playmaking, literary skills, character, and plot development. Lighting, sound, and set design for stage are also options as learners explore scenic painting, costume/wardrobe design, and technical theater skills. Through such diverse training, students receive a strong foundation that can help them transition into the professional arts in the workforce or through further study in higher education.