We are starting off the new year with a closer look at one of our specials, Drama & Music.
Students have this special outside of their core classes several days throughout the week, and it is one they look forward to with eager anticipation. It is led by our amazing faculty member, Lynn Mikeska, who holds an MFA in Acting and has extensive experience leading children and young adults in both classroom and theater settings.
Recently in December, students from every grade performed what is known as ‘long-form improv’ shows for their fellow classmates and families who came to see them on stage.
These performances were all collectively connected by the theme “Story Masters,” as each class imagined characters, scripts, props, and scenes inspired by well-known narratives such as Jack and the Beanstalk, the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, and the myth of Prometheus.
Students learned the art of storytelling based on the principles of Freytag’s Pyramid of Plot Development which helps to break down story arcs into smaller, distinct sections. Mikeska taught them to gradually build up their story elements as if they were climbing ‘plot mountain,’ and then wind the details down as they descend to the conclusion. Then, she introduced Aristotle’s Elements of Drama (Plot, Character, Theme, Dialogue, Music, and Spectacle), and each class built their performance using these elements as a roadmap.
They loved this practice of creating a performance together and the shared joys of teamwork but also the opportunity to hone their skills of self-expression in making their characters their own.
Our Drama & Music class is designed to simplify theatrical and musical forms in order to allow students to use them for their own self-expression. This work nurtures creativity, teaches a “top to bottom” understanding of these subjects, and helps students feel comfortable and confident when expressing themselves in front of an audience.
Past performances in our Drama & Music class at Kirby Hall have featured puppet shows, Shakespearian soliloquies, popular musicals, and ukulele concerts.
Kirby Hall’s annual talent show highlighting acts from all ages will take place on March 22.
In addition to Drama & Music instruction here at school, Kirby Hall students were introduced to theatrical and music productions in the local community with a visit last semester to the Austin Scottish Rite Theater to learn about the craft of acting and set design.
The Kirby Hall Drama & Music program highlights one of our core beliefs at Kirby Hall School: that student stories matter. In the words of Mikeska, “creative self-exploration and self-expression open the doors for community building and the development of empathy and compassion.”
Kirby Hall School offers a place to belong, and an education beyond for families of all backgrounds, race, religion, and cultural heritage. Our small class sizes inspire lively discussions and encourage students to become critical, confident, and independent thinkers.
To learn more about our private school in Austin for academically curious and creative students in Pre-K4 through eighth grades, please visit us here.