With the arrival of Mrs. Corrie, the drama program is not contained to the upper school anymore. 4th and 5th graders have now been given the option to choose between PE/Gym or Drama/Theatre as one of their electives. This has evolved into a full-fledged program for these students. Mrs. Corrie has worked tirelessly to train these 4th and 5th graders for their upcoming middle school, high school, and potentially college drama careers.
Their training begins with basic production-type acting skills, then works through full production. Students experience an actual Broadway-style, straight play production which means memorizing lines, developing genuine characters, and working with props, costumes, set, sound, and animated projection.
Drama teacher Mrs. Corrie said, “After the production experience, we are learning all types of acting improvisation exercises.”
Nevertheless, these students are all quite young, with the oldest only being 12 years old.
When asked how their young age impacts their learning, Corrie said, “My philosophy is to teach them young! The sooner they are able to grasp the basic skills, the faster they can move onto more intricate and complicated concepts. They will be heads and toes ahead of other young actors that have not been given the opportunity for full production experiences with applicable training.”
The truly incredible aspect is how much progress has been made with these students with the classes even managing to put on a production of “James and the Giant Peach” in their first year.
When looking at future goals for these students, Corrie said, “At the end of each year they will have had experience auditioning, researching and developing a character, plus bringing it to life on stage. Next year, the 5th-grade students will move into MS class and the 4th-grade students will move into the next level of production exploration.”
The reason this was such an outstanding feat for LMP is that this is the first time lower school had a choice to pick drama as an elective and put on an entire production because of it.
Corrie said, “’James and the Giant Peach’ was given the same respect and high level of quality in production that we gave to ‘Little Women.’ This was a classroom play that was given ‘full-court press’ in letting the students wear beautiful costumes, microphones, high-quality props and set pieces. The MS and US students were actively involved in the development, design, and execution of all technical, crew, and backstage support. The program is a perfect example of ONE LMP with all grades working together to create a fantastic and beautiful piece of performance art. The older students mentored and taught the younger students in ‘all things’ production.”
Due to the 4th and 5th graders’ uprising success and progress, it has become a prosperous staple to the LMP drama program.