By Arely ’24
The theatre department here at Harvard-Westlake is quite extensive. They offer support and opportunities from every angle, whether you want to be an actor, a costume designer, or a stage manager. For actors, it begins with Acting, a semester-long course offered in 9th grade, that acts as a nice introduction to performance techniques, and analyzing the scripts or monologues one is given. I took this class with no previous acting experience and had so much joy immersing myself in different characters and analyzing their objectives. Taking this class, opened my eyes to a whole new world and it was where I fell in love with acting. Plus, it was a very inclusive community, where you don’t have to be afraid of messing up because it’s all about the learning process.
Moving to the upper school, actors can take only the semester-long class, The Actor and The Stage I or combine both The Actor and the Stage I and II for a yearlong elective. In these two classes, you play theatre games and have a chance to explore more of who you are as a person and as an actor. You explore more in-depth the basics of theatre and expand your performance techniques when delivering a piece.
Once you have completed The Actor and The Stage II, you are cleared to take Advanced Acting. I took this course in my sophomore year, and although it was a challenge, it allowed me to grow as an actress and embrace working with more difficult pieces. From there, you could move on to Advanced Performance Studies. Each is a semester-long class and both expand and go more work in-depth with improving performances and even beginning to write some original pieces. At the middle school, there is Middle School Stagecraft for those interested in learning the ways of technical design and production. At the upper school, there are two semester-long classes, Introduction to Costume Design and Basic Sewing and Costume Techniques for those interested in learning more about the art of creating costumes for sets and using the equipment. In addition, there is a semester or yearlong Directed Study course called Costume Workshop for those who are truly passionate and dedicated to learning more about assembling costumes for productions.
However you want to get involved in theater, you can do it at HW!