ASA has a reputable, structured and highly engaging theatre arts curriculum. We don’t view theatre as a solely creative endeavor, but an academic pursuit. While professional teaching artists prepare students for a degree in performing arts or even a professional career, that is not the main objective of the program. Theatre is good for the brain. Studies have shown a correlation between involvement in theatre and academic achievement, improved reading comprehension, better attendance, and greater self-esteem. Theatre teaches students to think through self-expression and exploration of their artistic voice. They gain the confidence and skills to follow their passion wherever it may take them including, of course, the stage.

Theatre scholars learn theatrical history and develop technique through collaboration, tenacity of practice, work creation, community engagement, and innovations that reinvent the field. The 4-year and 8-year programs are structured sequentially to build on knowledge and previous learning. Theatre students participate in performances, productions, and portfolio exhibitions.

You do not have to be in the theatre arts program to enjoy a production. The ASA Theatre Department produces a play and musical each school year for both middle and high school.  Students at ASA, whether enrolled in the theatre program or not, can audition to participate.

Middle School sequenceHigh School sequence

Program Details

  • Ensure that all students graduate from the middle and high school programs with a designated set of learning objectives and skills.
  • Scaffold student learning to ensure students are building their knowledge and skills, and teachers can plan instruction with an understanding that students arrive in their classes with these common knowledge and skills.
  • Use theatrical learning to develop verbal and physical communication skills, organization, thinking quickly, collaboration, empathy, follow through, and more that students can apply to any field they wish to pursue.
  • Prepare students for college and professional auditions, applications, portfolio submissions and interviews.
  • Assist students in finding and applying their artistic voice and experience through a series of performances, productions and portfolio exhibitions based on classroom learning.
  • Prepare and launch the next generation of theatrical artists who will be equipped to establish their own arts organizations, leading to an increase in arts participation regionally and nationally.
  • Establish a national model for four- and eight-year theatre training with proven results and outcomes.

Theatre class work will be done in the following sequence:

  • Middle School Theatre 1: Foundations
  • Middle School Theatre 2: Story and Structure
  • Middle School Theatre 3: Shakespeare and Design Introduction
  • Middle School 4: Contemporary Theatre and Design

Each of these courses will contain elements of theatre history and literature, theory, performance and production. The sequence is designed to provide a solid foundation for further and deeper study in high school and, at times, to augment what students are learning in their academic classes.

Important note: Space is limited in middle school classes. Middle school students interested in studying theatre may try to gain admission during the drop/add period in the spring. Middle school students do not need to be in the theatre program to audition for any ASA productions.

Year 1: Theatre Studies

This course provides an overview of the theatre experience and helps students determine interests and focus of subsequent levels. Students take two hours of Theatre Studies classes each day.  One class focuses on theatre performance and theatre history/literature.  The other focuses on production and stagecraft, and musical theatre performance.

Year 2: Emphasis Selection

Students pursue theatrical interests and narrow down their emphasis to two required courses from the list below.

  • Theatre Performance – courses include Acting and Voice/Movement
  • Musical Theatre Performance – courses include Musical Theatre Acting and Musical Theatre Voice
  • Production and Management – courses include Production Design of various areas

Year 3: Emphasis Continued

Students continue their theatre emphasis, building on skills from their previous courses.

  • Theatre Performance – courses include Acting and Voice/Movement
  • Musical Theatre Performance – courses include Musical Theatre Acting and Musical Theatre Voice
  • Production and Management – courses include Production Design of various areas

Year 4: Senior Theatre Seminar

All senior Theatre majors will work together in two-hour classes to prepare for college applications, auditions and interviews, producing a fall showcase of audition/interview materials.  The ensemble’s capstone project is an original devised one-act play or musical presented in the Spring.

High school students who have a theatre course in 9th hour will be provided with a Study Hall, or may elect to take a third arts course, for which a fee is assessed.