Cape Henlopen High School Theatre Academy

  * All of the classes in the Theatre Academy have been arranged for viewing in a progressive order. 

Level One: Theatre Fundamentals   
This course introduces students to a variety of aspects that make up the world of theatre arts. Students will learn basic acting skills, scene design, set contsruction, lighting and sound, improvisation, character development and performance. 
Level Two: Movement and Voice   
In this course, students focus more specifically on the body and the direct link between relaxation and the use of voice. In the first semester, students will develop physical techniques to loosen inhibitions and stresses that tend to block creativity. We will then progress to movement for the actor (including but not limited to breathing and relaxation, yoga, pantomime and dance). The second semester for this course will focuses on the voice itself (including but not limited to voice and diction, dialects and singing). 
  * This class is performance based. During the course of the year, the Level Two class will perform a Children's Theatre production in December, a travelling "Holiday Cabaret Sing Along" and a "Rock and Roll Revival" in the Spring. 
Level Three: Acting Shakespeare Workshop  
In this course, actors learn to create honest performances of Shakespeare's works through character analysis, text analysis, scene study, monologues and scene development. Students will perform scenes and monologues from Shakespeare's greatest works  to demonstrate their mastery of the subject in two semi- annual productions.
 Level Four: Theatre History   
 In this course, students will explore the development of theater from its early beginnings in ancient Egypt to modern day text. In this rigorous course, students will be expected to analyze text from a mutitude of genres and relate the play to its historical significance and social commentary. Students will perform scenes and monologues to demonstrate mastery of the subject in two semi-annual productions.
Course Syllabi-
1.  Theatre Fundamentals:  
Course Description 

 Students will explore the basic elements of the theatre through a series of performance activities designed to focus on the 

 theme of collaboration.  A successful theatre company operates as an ensemble; a group who learn from one another and a 

 group that gets stronger as they get to know and trust one another. It is the quality of such relationships that distinguished an 

 average performance from an excellent one. The activities in the course will generate a range of evidence demonstrating 

 student understanding of the following: 

  -  Basic stage terms 

-   Concentration and Improvisation 

-   Point of Focus 

-   Movement, mimes and mask 

-   Character and motivation 

-   The Actor's Voice 

-   Oral Interpretation and Storytelling 

-   Performance 

-   Playwriting (adaptation of a piece of literature into a script) 

-   Scene design 

-   Make Up (basic and special effects) 

-   Direction and blocking 

  Actors will work individually and in groups to experience the world of the theatre "on their feet". They will read the words of the text actively and articulate their discoveries, sometimes by speaking and listening to one another and sometimes writing about them. Many of the activities in this course require an intuitive, spontaneous response, which is then consolidated through reflective enquiry and questioning. All elements of theatre taught in this course will culminate in the production of a children's theatre piece, which will be entirely student written, directed, designed and performed. 

2. Movement and Voice 

 Semester One- Movement

 Students will be introduced to a variety of movement techniques, beginning with breathing, yoga and other relaxation exercises, to realize their full potential in physical performance. Good alignment will guarantee a natural flow of energy through the body, enabling the actor to respond well to his/her instincts. Tuning the physical instrument in this way creates a sensation of effortlessness and freedom, with all parts moving together harmoniously. To work in a naturally responsive way, the actor needs to find a balance of freedom and control when moving. Once this is achieved, the actor will discover that the body's muscles do much more than keep the body upright and give it strength to perform actions. Once this balance is achieved, the actor will possess what psychologists call, "The Sixth Sense": a deeper level of movement capable of releasing and communicating emotion. 

 Once the actor has become comfortable with basic movements, we will move onto the element of dance. Students will engage in the practice and performance of dance styles that range from the Volta (practiced extensively during the Elizabethan Age) to colonial country dancing to the wide variety of dance styles that dominated the 20th century (including, but not limited to: the Charleston, the Jitterbug, the Twist, and modern Jazz in the style of Bob Fosse.) Students will not only rehearse and perform a variety of dances, but will also be responsible for choreographing and teaching their peers an original number in the style of their choosing. Dances will be presented in a workshop performance focusing on the movement aspect of Musical Theatre. 

Semester Two: The Actor's Voice 

Part One: Voice and Diction 

  In this course, students will examine the fundamentals of voice production and articulation. Through an  

extensive selection of vocal exercises, students will master good habits of speech through practice, analysis of voice, articulation and pronunciation.

  Part Two: Accents and Dialects

    In this course we will advance our study of the practices of voice production and articulation with particular emphasis on accents and dialects. As such, this course is designed specifically with the needs of actors in mind. Class exercises and assignments will focus on the skills of performance and of the voice in characterization. We will work to understand  vocal production and to develop the ability to hear (and eventually reproduce) differences in speech particular to region and country of origin. This acuity is essential to our study and will require concentration, diligence and patience. To aid in this, we will continue to explore relaxation techniques and apply all of this to everyday speech as well as to the performance narrative and dramatic speeches. We will be working on the following accents/dialects: 

Dialects: Standard British (Received Pronunciation) 


American Southern 

Accents: French 

Additional Options for Study: 

Dialects: Australian, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Northern British and New York 

Accents: Spanish, Russian, Indian and German 

 Part Three: Musical Voice 

  The final section of this course will utilize all aspects of vocal instruction to develop the actor's voice in song.  Students will choose two musical numbers of different genres and styles to rehearse and perform in a Musical Theatre review at the end of the semester.

  3. Acting Shakespeare

   The Elizabethan Theatre marks a rich and dynamic period in the development of the theatre craft. Given characters of great social diversity and psychological depth coupled with delicately nuanced blank verse, Shakespeare offers many challenges and many rewards to his actors.  Such a Theatre of Language requires great skill, technique and timing.  Shakespeare call upon his actors to see the Humanity in any situation and to clearly communicate that through words and gesture.

 4. Theatre History

In the first semester, students will study the evolution of formal social theatre from ritual origins through the morality plays of the Middle Ages. Students will examine cultures, their beliefs and value systems and how such vital aspects of civilization were reflected through the Theatre.This course is a social history of dramatic theory, plays and playwrights, production practices and performance styles, emphasizing their roles as both product of and mirror to changing values, tastes, attitudes and customs.

In the second semester, after students have completed the unit on Shakespeare, we will continue to study theatre as both a reflection of culture, as well as social commentary. We will explore the plays of the Renaissance, the Commedia Del Arte, Opera, the emergence of Realism, the American playwrights (e.g. Tennessee Williams, Thornton Wilder, August Wilson) and the creation of the American Musical. We will examine the pop culture success, RENT, and compare it to its predecessor (La Boheme) to discover the impact of theatre in both cultural awareness and social healing. Students will examine the evolution of theatre through discussion and the performance of a variety of these works in an intensive Master Class setting with proportionate expectations of acting experience and academic rigor.

Actors will work individually and in groups to discover and refine performance skills specific to comedy.Monologues and Scenes are required to be presented as finished performance pieces.Additional improvisational (non-graded) performance assignments will take the focus of the first few weeks. Analysis papers for each scripted character portrayed are required. 

We will explore the plays from each time period through discussion and the performance of these works in a Master Class setting with proportionate expectations of acting experience and rigor. Performance showcases performances will demonstrate student growth and skill development at the end of each semester.

The Cape Henlopen Theatre Academy is committed to the development of young artists as Theatre professionals.  The Academy strives to elicit creative self-expression, critical thinking, and artistry through its curriculum and its productions in preparing students for successful entrance into a conservatory or university level Theatre training program.  

The curriculum reflects an intensive four year cumulative program designed to develop analytical and practical skills; to encourage creative and insightful choices; and to foster professional values and practices.  A strong foundation in the classics, especially Shakespeare, is an essential component to the study of all Theatre, and thus anchors our curriculum.  The entire program of study is intended to develop and prepare students to explore individually; to work collaboratively; and to share openly as we strive to create artists as citizens in a nurturing, creative community within the academic setting and beyond.

Letter from the Director:

Hello and welcome to the the Cape  Henlopen Theatre Academy web page. I am both grateful and proud to be working with such gifted young actors and actresses in this beautiful performance space at Cape Henlopen High School. As evident in our past season's production of Anything Goes, the Cape Henlopen Theatre Acdemy prides itself in stepping "outside the box" of the traditional High School Theatre genre and challenges its students by exposing them to a much more intensive performance training experience.

Students enrolled in our program will be exposed to a variety of components of the performing arts, as the curriculum enables students to develop a wide array of theatre skills, from technical design and set construction to text analysis, character analysis, theatre history, voice, movement and performances in both classical drama and musical theatre.  

Career Pathway- Theatre

The Cape Henlopen Theatre Academy offers full-year courses in Theatre Fundamentals and Technical Theatre; Movement and Dance, Voice, Diction, Accents and Dialects, Theatre History, Acting and Acting Shakespeare, Directing and Children's theatre: all with the goal of preparing students for successful college auditions and continued training for a career in Theatre. 

In addition to core classes, our students also have the extraordinary opportunity to strengthen their skills through interactions with a wide array of professional members of the professional theatre community throughout the year.