Creativity enhances every step of the Park journey. Our robust arts program fuels students’ imagination and enlightens their worldview. They gain capabilities and confidence as they learn to express themselves through visual arts, music, and performance. And they come to deeply appreciate the tremendous value the arts bring to our lives.
Upper Division students can elect to join “Players in the Park,” the after school drama program, by trying out for the cast or crew of the seasonal play. This after school activity takes place in the after school time slot, parallel to after-school sports. Students put on three ensemble-based productions throughout the year. These performances serve a dual purpose: to entertain and to enrich the curriculum and values of the Park School community. We like to think of it as the most entertaining form of project-based learning that takes place at Park, complete with swords, ambushes, wizardry, and sometimes even a dragon.
Students gain experience in public speaking, creative problem solving, flexibility, trust, and meeting deadlines. They navigate being part of a team, and learn to look for ways they can participate and gauge when they can contribute or when they need to step back. Drama provides students the opportunity to create something together, and to make decisions and take ownership over the creative process. Students know that there will be a moment when they have an audience and their contribution to the team will enhance the quality of the entire performance. There is real ownership and pride in the process – it’s not just a class.
Recent productions include Mary Poppins, The Phantom Tollbooth, Shrek! The Musical, The Hobbit, Robin Hood, Guitar Man (written by an eighth grader!), and Sense and Sensibility. Theater at Park is for everyone, not just aspiring future actors. Every student gets a part, and the diverse experiences they bring are what makes the program so successful and rich. All the participants benefit from creating something together and all the skills built during the process.
As young adolescents so frequently work to define who they are and how they present that self to the world, theater can provide a much needed break from those questions, as well as a place to experiment with the answers – all while having fun. It’s called “a play” for a reason!