Theater, at Cate, ranges from academic courses to major, large-scale performances to informal and ongoing activities. Students involved in theater include some, focused on acting or directing, who will go on to study and perform in college and beyond, including at the professional level, as well as enthusiastic performers exploring their abilities and interest, and beginners stepping on stage for the first time. Because our programs have a place for everyone, and because the community of theater is so welcoming and exciting here, participation is enthusiastic and widespread. Devoted and experienced performers find the challenges they need, while beginners and others find encouragement, welcome, and a change to really learn and grow.
Two major performances are mounted each year. These utilize our well-equipped stage in the school’s theater and draw packed houses. The theater director wisely varies the type of production to ensure that over time performers and audiences have the chance to experience serious drama, comedy, and musicals in the forms of works that range from traditional to innovative, in productions that take forms as elaborate and complex as large-set pieces with elaborate costumes to creative staging with innovative use of technology. Our productions provide intensive experiences not only for actors, but also for participants whose focus may be technical in nature. Our well-equipped theater and stage offer a great environment for students to learn skills and stagecraft, hands-on. Performances are always major community-building events and a memorable part of every year.
The department’s academic course offerings include the introductory course, Foundation Arts (theater), and sequence of intermediate and advanced acting classes (Acting and Theater Ensemble). All students who are new to Cate take Foundation Arts and gain an introduction to the dramatic arts and our theater program in that way. The more advanced courses may be taken as electives.
The department also supports theater activities that vary somewhat year-to-year depending on the particular interests and talents of our students. Most years, a student-directed play (or two) will be mounted in the spring. One-act plays and scenes are regularly performed as part of our convocation program. A student-run improv workshop has been a popular weekly activity. Occasional stand-up comedy workshops and performances also take place, and coffee house activities are regularly part of our weekend activities program. Cate students find that the school encourages and supports their performance plans, and that the community responds enthusiastically to their work.
Fernando performed with his classmates one evening in Convocation as part of a Shakespeare study in the ninth grade humanities program.