With a safe environment to take risks, our students develop a deeper sense of self. The performing arts is that safe environment. As students move toward adulthood, it becomes increasingly important that they have opportunities to express themselves in more pressured, public situations. This is an opportunity where our young learners of promise gain a deeper sense of self through resilience, determination and perseverance.
Because we believe so deeply in the arts at MVS, we have established an all-inclusive program. Everyone has a role: whether actor in a drama, singer in a musical or stage crew director, there is a role for everyone. An all-inclusive, immersive theatrical experience creates strong community and exploration of a deeper sense of self.
Fourth and fifth graders work together to produce the annual fourth and fifth grade musical, a culminating arts experience for lower school students. It is a grand-scale production with strong student and family involvement. Housed on our main stage theatre, expert directors guide the student cast and crew through the exciting process of a full-scale theatre performance.
The middle school play provides young thespians at MVS with a prime opportunity to learn the basics of acting and perform onstage. Over a span of three months, students audition, rehearse, and present a full-length production to the school community. Actors and crew of all experience levels are welcome, and it is not uncommon for up to one-third of the middle school to be involved with the play in some form (backstage support counts too!). An eighth-grade stage manager oversees a full student crew, providing a unique opportunity for student ownership in the show.
The improv course focuses on the basics of improvisational theatre and comedic acting. Students learn how to create compelling characters and relationships, work as a team to engage the audience, and listen and react in the moment. Performances during Morning Announcements are common occurrences, and students put on two showcases in the winter and spring.
Fall play selections span the spectrum, from classics such as Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town an Beckett’s Waiting for Godot to contemporary selections like Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor, Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound. Each year is a different selection and includes student input
The December student-directed production offers the opportunity for a student to produce and direct a play or a one-act with the production support of a faculty member. This unique opportunity allows an experienced theatre student to harness all the knowledge gained in acting, designing, and stage managing in previous productions at MVS or in the community. Throughout this immersive theatrical experience, the student director takes the helm and plans, designs, blocks, and casts a production of his/her choice.