Drama has always been an important component of Waldorf education. From early childhood on, the children and students are asked to use their creativity to become what they can imagine themselves to be. Creative play makes use of drama from the earliest years, children becoming kings, queens, animals or more to complete their play. The lower school class plays continue to deepen the social community of the class through working together on the play. Every class in the lower school works on a play during the course of the year. The plays are presented to their parents and other classes. The length and complexity of the class play grows with each year, culminating in the large production of the eighth grade play. In the high school, the students can be asked to take on roles and deepen their understanding of the character development and how that character reacts to the others within the play. Comedy and Tragedy, Greek Drama, and Shakespeare have a whole main lesson devoted to them.
The high school students are offered a drama elective twice a year as part of a wide range of high school electives. The Waldorf Players perform for the school and community in the late fall and again in the spring. The fall production is a full length play and usually, the students work on a Shakespeare production during the winter trimester with a goal of attending the Folger Shakespeare Theater Secondary School Festival in March.
Every other year a History through Film course is also offered during the second trimester.
The tenth grade has a drama elective during one trimester. In this course, the students are introduced to a variety of different types of plays and also work on theater games. The students then choose a type of play and produce it for a small audience. Some tenth graders choose a play for the young children and others choose for a more mature audience.
The senior play is part of the graduation process. At the beginning of the third trimester, the seniors gather to read two to four plays that have been previously selected for them by a committee of a few high school teachers. The seniors are also offered a chance to suggest plays. Suring the course of a week, the plays are read by the students, our guest professional director and me. Time is given for each student to speak and then by consensus a choice of the play is then made. The students work very hard during the last trimester on their play and perform it before their senior trip.
There is a group of dedicated eighth graders and high school students who are members of the Tech Crew. These students spend many lunch times and weekends working to support various productions during the year including lighting, costumes, props, sets and make-up.
Drama is always very much alive in the Waldorf School!