Dramatics begins in the Early Childhood Program with a variety of activities that encourage self-expression, character observation and improvisation. Puppet shows, theatrical adaptations of favorite stories, and other age-appropriate, group-based activities that respond to the classroom moment help students to make deep connections to curriculum and to their personal learning.
The Lower School program is a blend of activities aimed at both verbal and non-verbal expressive skills called Rhythms and Creative Dramatics. The Rhythms program, which has been a hallmark of the NCCS curriculum for over half a century, is a unique course in nonverbal expression which emphasizes body movement and offers varied avenues for the exercise of each child’s imagination. Elements of structured folk and contemporary dance are also introduced. In Creative Dramatics activities, students perform in scripted plays that are connected with their social studies curriculum, and address a variety of related skills, from public speaking to collaboration.
The Middle School program utilizes homeroom-based activities in the fifth grade, as classes undertake productions that reflect their work in literature and history. Sixth-grade students have regular drama classes in their schedules, which focus on the development of a variety of theatrical and public presentation skills, as well as continuing work in movement that was started in the Lower School. In addition, all sixth-grade students participate in a homeroom-based public speaking program. A broad palette of traditional theater skills, from writing to acting, is available to both fifth- and sixth-grade students who have the opportunity to participate in an elective production for one trimester.
In the Upper School, seventh graders may elect to further develop their dramatic skills as part of the whole-grade creative arts foundations course. In eighth and ninth grade, elective courses are available in improvisation, technical theater, mime and dance. Students in all three grades may elect to participate in a fully realized theatrical production each year drawn from timeless Broadway musicals and classic dramatic works. Opportunities for work in all areas of stagecraft and further development of vocal, dance and acting skills are built into this activity.