The theatre program emphasizes meaningful process and excellent product. It encourages students to develop as creative, confident and proficient performers and students of theatre. Our comprehensive curriculum is designed to cater to both the casual and serious student of theatre.
In the Upper Division Theatre program, students can choose from two different tracks of study. For those interested in Acting and/or Directing, 9th and 10th graders take Performance 1 and Performance 2, which include topics such as improvisation, visualization, scene study, script analysis, character work, vocal and physical training, playwriting, and dramaturgy. For those interested in Design and/or Technical Theatre, we offer a class in this discipline as well. Students in Design and Technical Theatre can study and all aspects of the design and build process, working alongside industry professionals brought in to work on our mainstage productions.
For the serious student of theatre who wishes to pursue theatre in college or beyond, we offer Advanced Theatre Ensemble, a course offered to 11th and 12th graders who have successfully completed Performance 2. This course functions like a small theatre company, involving student actors, directors, designers, and stage managers, and staging several intimate and provocative productions per year (in our recently renovated 99 seat black box theatre) as part of our Stage 2 series. This method of ensemble work prepares the theatre student for the independent study of a university environment.
The Upper Division Theatre program stages two Mainstage straight plays, one each in the fall and winter season, as well as a spring musical in collaboration with our Upper Division Choral and Instrumental programs. Auditions for these extra-curricular shows occur by season, and information on titles, schedules, and audition preparation is announced at the beginning of each year. Recent mainstage titles have included The Cherry Orchard, Museum, Pride and Prejudice, You Can’t Take It With You, and The House of Bernarda Alba. These shows feature professional designs including the latest trends in video projection and advanced lighting techniques, contributed by designers in the industry.
In addition to these Mainstage and Stage 2 performances, the Upper Division Theatre program, in collaboration with the Choral and Instrumental programs, produces a large scale spring musical. Any Berkeley student is eligible to participate in this production, either onstage or working on design or technical teams. Recent productions include Les Misèrables, Chicago, and Into the Woods. Berkeley’s Upper Division Theatre program has been recognized as “Outstanding” in several categories, as part of the Broadway Star of the Future program