Master of Fine Arts
James W. Parker
The theatre curriculum at Hopewell High School began eleven years ago with one course; it now has expanded to three courses. Because the last course in the sequence may be repeated for credit, a student in this curriculum may earn four credits in theatre study.
The first course is English 124, entitled Drama I, and it may be taken by students in grades 9 through 12. This course introduces the student to performing in pantomime, improvisation, and in scripted scenes. The second course is English 125, entitled Drama II, which is open to students in grades 10 through 12 who have completed Drama I; college bound juniors and seniors without any theatre credits may also take Drama II. The emphasis in Drama II is theatre history and literature. The third course is English 147, entitled Theatre Ensemble, which is a play production course with work on the production process leading toward a finished performance. Students in Theatre Ensemble must have successfully completed at least one other theatre course, and they must submit an audition and/or interview for admission to the course. Theatre Ensemble may be repeated once for credit.
The overall objectives of the theatre program at Hopewell High School are:
to provide the student with a creative vehicle to learn about himself and about himself with others
to provide the school with a viable and visible performing arts group
to provide the community with its only regular theatre group
to use school and community resources in theatrical production and study
to provide training in acting, production, theatre history, dramatic literature, and management skills
to encourage independent study and artistic endeavor
to follow current mandates and guidelines of the Virginia State Department of Education
to provide training on the high school level for the gifted theatre student who has professional goals
to cooperate with, and often incorporate, all other arts programs within the school system
to assist in the development of a total appreciation of all of the arts
to develop a program on the secondary level in dance and movement
to develop a community theatre group
It is important that any curriculum have objectives, but it is even more important that a theatre program have strong objectives which will win the support of the school board, the school administration, the faculty, and the study body. The theatre curriculum at Hopewell High School has been fortunate in this regard.
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