Theatre is an essential component of a liberal arts education and prepares students like no classroom experience can. Wakefield's theatre experience gives its participants a solid background in theatre, but also offers every role — from acting to lighting to stage design — that a student could want. On-stage and behind the scenes, students learn to improvise, think quickly, and stay composed; manage a performance and its pieces (human and otherwise) from start to finish; observe and understand others; learn all roles; deal with long hours; entertain and get a point across; and learn that theatre is much, much more than costumes, staging, and lighting.
Without a dedicated performing arts center, the theatre department has performed The Wizard of Oz, with a house that actually spun, done full opera stagings, and built a theatre-in-the-round.
Two major Upper School productions anchor the program, and students can also participate in a major musical with the Archwood Community Theatre.
In Intro to Theatre, students are given an introduction to all elements of theatre, including history and styles of theatre, the rudiments of backstage work, script scoring, monologues and 2-person scene performances, and improvisation skills. As they continue in theatre courses, students have an opportunity to fully participate in theatre productions as an actor, designer, or in a technical capacity. Later courses are also an introduction to the nature and spirit of collaboration in a theatrical enterprise. For students on the road to theatre skills mastery, Theatre Production 3 is designed to provide greater opportunities for involvement in stage productions, while providing the highest level of challenge in the areas of acting, directing, and design. A hallmark of this course is the opportunity for seniors to undertake a project of specific individual interest in one of these three areas.