The theatre program at Kent is a vibrant and active element of school life that encourages not only excellence but also high levels of participation. Students work primarily in two spaces: the recently-renovated Mattison Auditorium, a beautiful and fully-outfitted performance space featuring the latest technology for lighting and sound; and the Acting Studio, a flexible black box theatre that also functions as a venue for drama classes and student groups such as the Improv Club. Near the Studio is a scene shop, dressing rooms, and storage that were also created in the renovation of the building, so students involved in the program have spaces of their own in which to learn, grow, and explore while they build every aspect of the program’s many productions.
Each fall students typically perform in one of two non-musical plays, one for older students and one for younger members of the program, except in years when we perform a Shakespeare play, in which the whole program comes together. This is done every four years, so all students experiencing a full Kent career can participate in a Shakespearean production. In the winter students act and direct productions for our one-act festival; each year at least one of the shows (and frequently many more) are written by Kent students. In the spring, a major musical is presented, with a large number of students appearing not only on stage but also in the orchestra pit, with still more working backstage on the various crews needed to produce this show, one that ends the year on a high note each May.
Faculty involvement in the program is high: in addition to two directors that are full-time faculty members, the technical director, pit band conductor, and choreographer are also faculty members that students get to know not only in the theatre, but in the dormitories, the dining hall, and in their classes. Creative students are cared for and nurtured as they work their way through Kent, and many have gone on to major in the performing arts in college at top programs; all involved students develop a love for theatre that lasts a lifetime.
If acting in musicals is your passion, or writing plays, or building sets, or designing lighting plots, or just seeing shows, it’s all available at Kent.
Drama courses train students in acting, directing, and playwriting; guest artists visit and bring new perspectives to the group; trips with the Theatre Club and the drama faculty expose students to great work happening in New York and elsewhere; and dramatic literature courses are taught through the English department, including such recent offerings as The Drama of Sam Shepard, Irish Drama, and Hamilton – the English Elective. The facilities, faculty, and peers that will surround you in the theatre program will help you to grow your passion every day you spend in the shadow of Mount Algo – come and join us!