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Performing Arts

Theatre is alive and well here at Lawrence Woodmere Academy! Thanks to people like our former Head of School and Theatre Teacher Barbara Feldman, our students find a home in the Theatre Department. Our students from Lower School on through to the Upper School have the opportunity to audition and take part in a production open to parents and the public. Students benefit from exposure to valuable skills, such as public speaking confidence, connection, listening and communication. Students are able to witness cultural values through the study of different playwrights. Most recently, our students were able to perform The Little Shop of Horrors, which thanks to our Theatre Parents they were able to travel to see on Broadway.

Here at LWA Theatre is a much-beloved part of our educational curriculum. The benefits of our Drama program for our students go far beyond any one obvious professional outlet. Our classes in drama are designed for each individual student’s daily benefit, regardless of their chosen career path. Critical thinking skills, public speaking confidence, and self-awareness are all skill sets taught through our drama courses. While looking at these skills, students are inspired to slow down and examine who they are, how they communicate, and how they interact with others. At LWA students are given the opportunity to find their identity and home in the world. We believe the performing arts to be a significant part of that journey.

Here at LWA our drama classes begin in the Lower School, where students are encouraged to use their imaginations to solve problems, find their talent, and become comfortable letting themselves connect to another person or a group of people. Teamwork is also encouraged, paving the way for them to work together and move into the MIddle School.

Drama at LWA begins in the Lower School, exposing students to the fundamentals of the performing arts. Weekly classes give students in each grade the opportunity to demonstrate their individual talents, providing invaluable lessons in public speaking and teamwork. LWA International Day gives all Lower School students a chance to perform, while at the same time celebrating our very diverse student body. Months of preparation and hard work go into International Day which culminates in a school-wide assembly, to which all parents and guardians are invited. International Day brings the entire LWA community together and is a wonderful event.

In the Middle and Upper School theatre program is based on the philosophy that theatre is a tool to get to know yourself and build empathy, confidence, and awareness. In our upper level program we take a more indepth look at the world of theatre. We examine theatre as performers and audience members. We also break it down to its base sets of skills, writing, textual interpretation, public speaking and connection. Students have the opportunity to perform various works ranging from Lorraine Hanberry to Sondheim. This year’s interested Middle School students will participate in An Evening with Shel Silverstein. Middle School typically produces one main stage production per year, alternating between a play and musical. Recent shows have included Catch Me If You Can, Little Shop of Horrors and A Raisin in the Sun.

Henry McDaniel heads the Theatre Department at LWA. Henry is a former professional actor and voice coach with 20 years of teaching performance on both the highschool and collegiate level. Mr. McDaniel performed in regional theaters and Shakespeare festivals all across the United States and Europe. He holds an MFA in Acting from Indiana University and an MA in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. With several of his former students performing on Broadway and in TV/film, Mr. MCDaniel is situated to guide students to find their paths to college or any career path they choose. 

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