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Theater Course Selection

Junior Drama  -This course introduces students to the skills and disciplines needed to be focused and successful performers. Acting study is based on group games, memorized scene work, improvisation, and imagination. This course will provide a wonderful opportunity for the students to express themselves creatively in a welcoming class environment. Students will explore topics that include monologues, storytelling, reader’s theater, musical theater, Shakespeare, and selected plays. Throughout the course there will be opportunities for students to showcase their talents both in and out of the classroom.

Drama I - Students will survey the following aspects of theater production: staging, theatrical styles, and acting. In addition to academic work in the history of theatre, students will spend a good portion of the course performing and writing scenes, and studying the basic components of stage, costume and make-up design.

Drama II - Advanced Acting and Directing Lab This class will build on the acting and directing techniques learned in Drama I in order to prepare the student for refined, exceptional scene and play preparation. Students will spend time performing direction and performance sequences and will work with their peers to produce different scenes from several different periods and styles.

Drama III - World of Stagecraft This course continues the work of Drama 1 and Drama II to explore advanced production techniques on the stage. Students will write, direct, produce and plan technical components for their own scenes and for each of Cardinal Newman’s semester theatrical productions.

Musical Theater - This course is for the student who is interested in performing in Musical Theater. Students will have the opportunity to create an audition, rehearse and perform scenes/a show from the Broadway genre. The course will introduce students to techniques used by actors to perform musical numbers with skill and dynamics. Performances are required by all students and will be both in-class and main-stage productions. Students will obtain training and skills associated with Musical Theater: singing, acting, movement/choreography, staging, and using correct terminology and vocabulary in written and oral discussion.

Shakespeare Honors - This course is a survey of Shakespeare’s major dramatic works, and an in-depth exploration of six to eight works of Comedy, Tragedy, History and Romance. Students will master elements of performance, history, and poetry. Students will also receive coaching in the preparation of powerful Shakespearean monologues and multi-person scenes, and will move toward the creation of full-scale productions. Other subjects that the course will cover will include costume design, landmark productions through history, text analysis, and stage design.

Technical Theater - This course will address best practices in the design and construction of set pieces and costumes in theater. Curriculum will include: the safe and effective use of manual and power tools; the use of flats and 3-D set pieces to create onstage space; the effective set-up of sound and light equipment; and using raw materials creatively and cost-effectively in set and costume design. Students in this course will design and build the sets and costumes for the Drama productions at Cardinal Newman.

Performing Arts Chair

Nell Bramhall

Nell Bramhall

Teacher, English Dept & Drama Dept

Performing Arts Calendar

Cardinal Newman School’s Performing Arts program includes courses in Choral Music, Instrumental Music and Theatre Arts. The State of South Carolina and Cardinal Newman School abide by national content and school-wide learning standards that adhere to an eight-fold set of standards for education in Theatre Arts: Story-making/Script-writing, Acting, Designing, Directing, Researching, Connecting, Valuing and Responding, and Relating to History and Culture. These content standards inform and apply to all levels of Theatre education. Similarly, South Carolina and Cardinal Newman standards outline a nine-area set of content standards for its courses in music: Singing, Performing on Instruments, Improvising, Composing and Arranging, Reading and Notating, Analyzing, Evaluating, Making Artistic Connections, and Relating to History and Culture.

The Theatre Arts program at Cardinal Newman further delineates its study into a three-fold process:

  1. Script Creation
  2. Acting, Directing and Production from page to stage
  3. History, Criticism. and Appreciation.

This delineation allows for extensive but clear exploration of the creative theatrical act. Each element of teaching in the Performance Arts falls into one of these categories, and as a department we hold that every student can excel at one or all of them. It is our further conviction that education in these artistic activities will enrich each student’s mind and spirit.

According to the South Carolina Board of Education Standards for the Performing Arts, all children, regardless of background, ability or disposition, deserve the educational benefits that classes in the Performing Arts afford. Cardinal Newman’s Performing Arts department seeks to enrich its students’ educations by allowing children to both experience the creative process and explore how art has been created and performed by others in the past. This mission manifests itself in all Performing Arts courses, as our department seeks to allow students to innovate and create while being aware of how tradition, culture and history have impacted the way that the Performing Arts have been practiced by others throughout time.