Theater Arts

Two students on chairsDawn Souza, MFA, has been teaching at Oak Knoll Middle School since 2021 in both theater arts and 7th grade language arts. She has been trained in all forms of performance pedagogy and has taught in all levels of theater for fifteen years. She received her BAS from Salve Regina in Newport RI, her MA from Emerson College, and her MFA from VCU.

The theater arts classes at Oak Knoll Middle School encompass a number of different elements of theater and create a wide variety of mediums that make up the art. Students in all theater classes will be introduced to ensemble building, improvisation, movement for the actor, voice for the actor, and scene performance. Students will also be introduced to a variety of technical theater elements including costume design, set design, makeup, props, and lighting design. The goal of both semester and year long classes is to ensure that students understand that theater is a collaborative art and to address our 21st skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. The skills that you learn in theater will help you in any work that you do in the future.

In addition to classroom activities we also offer an after school theater program, where we have a series of workshops that supplement the work we do in the classroom. These workshops go from anything to “How to Audition for a Musical”, “Improvisation,” and more. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Virginia Theater Conference as well The Hanover Theater Festival. Both of these events are a wonderful opportunity for students who are interested in learning more about theater from other educators and theater students across the state and county. You do not have to be a theater arts student to attend. These events are open to the entire student population at Oak Knoll.

Students in a theaterIn November, students attend a shadowing program at Hanover High School. Each Oak Knoll participant pairs up with a student that is participating in the fall show at Hanover. Students follow their shadow as they get ready for their performance. They then get to attend the Hanover High School show directed by Debra Clinton.

And finally, we hold our spring musical to culminate our year. All of our hard work shows in the final performance of the year!

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