A means for growth & creative expression, the Barstow performing arts programs provide a common ground for uniting the skills and subject areas fundamental to the educational system.
The drama program at Barstow offers students the chance to learn fundamentals, find self-expression and learn the cultural and technical knowledge of the theater. Working with faculty, students, parents and administrators, Barstow produces shows that entertain, educate, provoke and provide an environment of community building and outreach. From sixth to twelfth grade, students can explore performance opportunities in plays and musicals, from classics to contemporary. Auditions for the musicals and plays are open to every student in the Middle and Upper Schools and these productions provide a wonderful chance to learn about structuring time, working cooperatively, discipline and in some cases, handling rejection.
Shows vary from OKLAHOMA! and CINDERELLA, to THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK and RUMORS, to METAMORPHOSES and RENT The Middle School presents a musical play every year, in an attempt to ready students for theatre in the Upper School, building our program and our talent pool. MTI’s Broadway Junior collection and the Rogers and Hammerstein’s Getting to Know… series have been invaluable in this endeavor. It also balances out the offerings we produce; providing more family-friendly fare and taking the heat off of the sometimes more adult-themed shows the Upper School yearns to perform.
Students at The Barstow School read a Shakespeare play a year, starting in sixth grade. All English classes include some drama as part of their reading list, and theatre field trips are an annual occurrence. In 2008, the Theatre and English departments teamed up to teach and present Mary Zimmerman’s METAMORPHOSES. Sophomores read the play that would be produced on the small stage complete with the water-filled swimming pool. This was so successful and drew the interest of so many, that in 2009 the entire Upper School ventured to the Kansas City Repertory Theatre to see THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, written and directed by Mary Zimmerman, at our local professional regional theatre.
Preparing for a play or musical takes time, energy, patience, creativity, planning, sleep, no sleep, and above all else, dedication. Community outreach programs provide an opportunity for the Barstow families to share much needed resources with such organizations as the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, Synergy Youth Services, Harvesters’ Food Bank, and GiveWhatYouGot.
Here at Barstow, the experience of theatre means different things to the different people involved—the cast, crew, directors, parents, administration, student body; crossing curriculum, crossing age groups, crossing communities.