Differences of the classes in the RCMS Drama Program


Natalie Lopresti and Julia Condro are in the middle of doing the play, "Group Chat" Credit: Mr. Bickford

Grace Park, Writer

Chatters of advanced theatre arts students fill the room. The students are situated in small groups with devices while one group sets up the stage. This is just a part of the class in action.

The drama program is one of the electives in RCMS that includes four different classes. Speech and Theatre Arts, Theatre Arts, Advanced Theatre Arts, and Tech Theatre are all part of our RCMS drama program. Of these four classes, you might have trouble deciding which elective you should take.

Speech and Theatre Arts is a drama elective for the seventh-graders.

“It is a taste of a whole bunch of different types of theatre,” said Mr. Bickford, the teacher for all drama classes. “Some examples are commercial, improv, choreography, monologue.”

This class is for students that have little or no experience in theatre. In the class, students will learn performing skills such as using their bodies and facial expression, how to speak loudly and clearly, improvisation, and basic performance techniques. They will also learn about theatre like basic script writing, parts of the stage, and memorization techniques.

Students will be able to build their self-confidence, public speaking skills, and collaborations throughout this class.

“I’ve improved most on public speaking, not being that embarrassed,” said Nicole Deng, 12, on the Trailblazers team. She didn’t have any experience in acting and said she is still improving.

“The class schedule is usually vocal warmups, exercises, activities and project,” said Nicole, “and in some parts, drama is really fun.” Nicole is also sort of interested in taking advanced drama next year.

Advanced Theatre Arts is a drama elective for the eighth-graders who have already taken Speech and Theatre Arts and have passed the audition. There are a total of 30 spots for the whole class when about 50-70 students audition each year. The class started in 2006.

In this class, they will learn advanced performance techniques, technical theatre skills, script writing, and performing for the camera. Students will even learn how to direct, produce and perform their own show. The class also provides real-world performance opportunities and the opportunity to learn from professionals.

“This class is for passionate students,” said Mr. Bickford. The students in this class should be willing to stay after school, meaning they should have commitment to work on projects that go on longer.

“Actors demonstrate maturity in portraying characters in more complicated situations,” said Mr. Bickford.

According to Mr. Bickford, at least two-thirds of the class thinks of it as a favorite class and often keep connections with classmates for life.

Theatre Arts is a drama class meant for the eighth-graders. Here, students will learn the basics of stage composition, usage of technical theatre, rehearsal process, and script writing. Some techniques they will learn are acting techniques, directing techniques, improvisation and audition techniques.

Unlike the Advanced Theatre Arts, there is no experience needed for this class. However, it is not the same thing as Speech and Theatre Arts, meaning that students who took that class can take this class. Students can build on self-confidence and public speaking skills.

The last drama class is called Tech Theatre. This class is meant for students that like theatre but do not want to perform themselves. They can learn skills like lighting, sound, costume, prop, set and makeup design.