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Courses and Faculty by Department
The Theater Program at Kimball Union couples a passionate drive for excellence with a sincere love of fun. We believe that the greatest learning and joy occur as we work purposefully together, and for that reason, virtually all theater classes and programs ask students to actively create. Regardless of your experience, you will find a place within this thriving theatrical program where you will be both challenged and at home.
You may choose from classes in a wide range of theatrical disciplines, including acting, directing, design, stagecraft, Shakespeare, textual analysis and playwriting, or you may participate in a theater activity. With a fall and spring play, winter musical, and opportunities to create and perform throughout the school year, aspiring thespians have a wide variety of ways to shine in front of or behind the curtain.
(winter and spring; 1/3 credit; Students are strongly encouraged, though not required, to immediately follow-up with Acting II)
This course concentrates on improvisational acting. Concentration, relaxation, projection, and characterization, along with other improvisational techniques are stressed. Attendance at specified performances is required.
(spring; 1/3 credit; Students are strongly encouraged, though not required, to immediately follow-up with Acting/Directing Workshop)
Acting II is a natural extension of Acting I, offering students the chance to continue their quest of honest, organically fueled characters, supported by appropriate physical technique. As the teaching practices required to foster these skills do not change substantially as the artist progresses, this class can be taught simultaneously with Acting I. Students may receive more challenging texts from the point of view of both character analysis and character development. (Shakespeare and/or Greek texts will likely be included.)
(spring; 1/3 credit; Prerequisite: Permission of the teacher)
Advanced Theater requires the approval of the instructor and the academic dean; it is offered in alternate years. This course is designed as a tutorial for the most motivated theater students and is tailored around their individual needs/desires. Students may elect to do advanced work in acting, directing theory and technique, directing projects, play attendance and critique, textual analysis and criticism, theatre history, make-up, costuming, design, or any other area of established theatrical practice. Evaluation of the work in class will be decided by a teacher/student conference once the areas of study are decided.
This two-part trimester elective focuses on performance technique for the musical stage. Students prepare and perform a selection of chosen and assigned music from classic musical theater and contemporary shows on Broadway, for which they analyze text, melody, and composition as it relates to performance. Part audition technique and part performance study, students focus on truthful storytelling through song.
In the second part of the trimester students will be assigned a scene from an established musical.They will perform the scene and coinciding song as if performing in the show.
Students in this class learn how to stand before a group of people in a poised and concentrated manner and speak clearly and intelligently. Primarily, these skills are acquired by researching, preparing and presenting a series of speeches, including informative, demonstrative, persuasive, after-dinner announcements, and storytelling.
(fall and winter; 1/3 credit) This class explores the myriad techniques and tools with which scenic artists and theater craftspeople create their designs. Students learn aspects of scenic painting, construction, sculpting, lighting, and basic sound. Credit will be given for main stage production-related assignments as well, if they are above and beyond standard tasks in complexity and/or commitment. If a student has a specific interest in the field, every attempt will be made to allow him or her to pursue that interest.
Each student must accumulate 19 credits in order to be a candidate for graduation. In addition, seniors are required to earn a passing grade in each of their courses to qualify for graduation. Specific course requirements are below and constitute 17 credits of the 19 needed for graduation. The remaining two credits must be earned in advanced level courses in two departments.
English: 4 credits
Science: 3 credits from lab courses (one of which must be Biology)
Mathematics: 3 credits (through Algebra II and one year beyond Algebra II if possible)
World Languages: 3 credits in one language
History: 3 credits (one of which must be US History)
Art: 1 credit (which must include one trimester of Dance/Theatre and one trimester of Visual/Music)
Each year, all students must carry at least five year-long core classes.
Born and raised in India, David attended boarding school in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains from age five. He has completed nine years of post-high school education, holding several undergraduate degrees and an MFA. David has served in many roles during his 30-year tenure at the Academy, including Director of Theater, Chair of the Arts Department, Academic Dean, Dean of Faculty and Assistant Head. As director of theater, he has accrued more than 125 directorial credits both in schools, community theaters, and semi-professional companies. During his administrative tenure, he has shepherded many academic and student life initiatives, assisted in the supervision of the construction of KUA’s Miller Bicentennial Hall humanities building, Library and the Wakely Learning Center, and developed the highly dedicated and talented faculty on The Hilltop.
David has been a House Parent in seven out of eleven KUA residences and now lives very close to campus in a timber frame home that he and his spouse built. In his current role as Assistant Head, he is delighted to be working closely with all of KUA’s constituents to assure excellence in operations and in meeting the needs of our students and extended community.
Christine has an extensive background in costume design and construction for theatre, dance & film. Her designs and creations have been seen in hundreds of productions. Her experience includes all level of school productions, college and university programs, community organizations, regional and Broadway shows, as well as TV and feature films.
Foothills Theatre, Wood & Poplyk Costume Design, Fenwick Theatre at College of the Holy Cross, Trinity Rep, Worcester Forum Theatre, Massachusetts Children’s Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Costume World, Inc, Costumes By Illusion, Providence College Blackfriars Theatre, Northern Stage and Dartmouth College are just some of the institutions, theatres and professional costume houses where she has worked.
Christine has lived in Meriden since 1996. She has provided custom dressmaking and alterations services though her company, Double Take Design Studio, for over 40 years.
Academic Information Systems Manager, Theater Technical Director
Stephen, KUA class of 2004, works with all things technology, bringing a wide range of knowledge to both the Technology and Arts Departments. Acting as a resource for students, faculty, and staff, he works to integrate and simplify technology across campus.
Stephen also works as the Technical Director for the Theatre, building and designing sets, lighting, and sound. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2008 with a BA focused on computer science.
Stephen is also an advisor and a dorm parent and lives on campus with his wife Christine Clisura and their tiny terrier Taffy.
Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the country's oldest private boarding high schools. KUA blends the best of the New England boarding tradition with an innovative, modern educational program for a diverse and global group of day and boarding students. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire, in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York.