At St. John Berchmans, we strive to expose students to experiences that will shape them into the most well-rounded individuals possible. We recognize the demand for scientific minds in our modern society and we have made great strides to meet and exceed those demands through various STEM curriculum and activities.
We also recognize there are other areas of education that shape a student into a more complete individual. We strive to adhere to the commonly-known "STEM" acronym, but also broaden it to a more complete acronym, STREAM. The R stands for religion, which is an important area we contribute to in many ways, and the A stands for art.
Theater Arts belongs to an area of academic discipline referred to as the humanities. When studying the human heart in anatomy class, one can achieve an important level of understanding, but studying the humanities can give students an even deeper insight into what it really means to be human.
In theater, students get an enriched sense of art, history, and culture. They learn to sing the melodies of classic songs, to dance, and to act. What is even more remarkable, though, is that students begin to face their fears. They (and their parents) learn they are capable of more than they ever imagined. They begin to develop musical tastes and their personalities blossom. They learn to prepare for a performance and hone their artistic abilities. They might make mistakes in front of their peers and the audience, but they learn that mistakes can be forgiven, overcome, and are indeed part of being human. Students discover that each person's artistic contribution to a performance is one stroke of a brush that paints a larger picture.
When the crowd goes home and the lights go out, the students will walk away more culturally enriched, more self-aware, and stronger, both mentally and physically. Theater is an opportunity to learn and to feel alive.
Each year, St. John Berchmans puts on a full-length feature production on our school's stage. It consists of two performances: One takes place during the day in front of the school's student body, and the other in the evening for parents, families, and the community. Drama class is where students begin discovering their talents, and at the beginning of the Spring semester, students audition for a role in the end-of-year production. Rehearsals take place after school three days per week: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, from 3:00-5:00. Students must come to rehearsal with their lines memorized, practice scenes with the other actors, and learn choreography, all under the direction of drama teacher Molly Cordero.
Additionally, it requires the help and participation of many people to make it all happen. Parents have built sets, local professional set designers have contributed, parents sew costumes and do face paintings, and school I.T. staff runs live audio. The productions are also professionally recorded. It's a chance for people of various ages with various gifts to get involved and experience the thrill of live performance.
Recent productions include:
Alice in Wonderland, 2014
Into the Woods, 2014
The Wizard of Oz, 2015
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 2017
The Lion King
Students K3 through 8th grade attend weekly drama classes during the school day as an enrichment with our drama teacher. Students learn about the history of theater, learn acting skills such as improvisation, and they put on various kinds of small skits.
There are also theater camps offered during the summer. They usually last 1-2 weeks, and entail various musical numbers and acting skits in front of parents.
The school owns professional audio equipment that is used for yearly theater productions. This equipment includes: a mixer, ten Audio Technica mic systems with transmitters that clip onto a belt or costume, head-worn microphones, and stage monitors. Students learn about proper mic placement, appropriate vocal dynamics when using microphones, and their voices are heard over loud speakers in very similar fashion to professional theatrical actors.