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 occurs 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.

Classes: There are classes in a wide range of theatrical disciplines, including acting, directing, design, stagecraft, Shakespeare, textual analysis and playwriting. And although all the above (and more) are taught within a traditional class framework, there are also “Advanced Theater” classes and independent studies that allow for remarkable specialization. In the last few years we have had students write and direct their own plays, study in-depth lighting design, and take a play on the road to the New Hampshire Theater Festival all for academic credit.  Our goal, quite simply, is to help you challenge yourself at the limits of your ability, and in the disciplines and directions you deem personally meaningful.
Shows:  Each of our three trimesters has a theater program offering during the afternoon activity slot, which is when we create our major productions. Normally, during the fall trimester we produce a straight play (non-musical, comedy or drama). Our major musical is in the winter, and we often have a One-Act Festival in the spring.  The one-acts are virtually all student produced, directed, and designed, and over the last few years have included  numerous student-written plays from the playwriting class. Student writing continues to develop, and the coming year promises to be heavily stocked with original material. 
Facilities: Following a recent renovation of our theater and lobby, our facilities include an ETC ION computer lighting console, ETC Desire LED fixtures, ETC Revolution moving lights, scrollers, a full compliment of new wireless microphones, choral mics, and more. We also have an in-house technical director and costumer, offering you the chance to work with professionals in a variety of theatrical disciplines. Additionally, we now have a second stage space in the heart of our new campus center which provides a more intimate actor/audience experience. Although it is not our belief that facilities lie at the heart of a theatrical endeavor, we are certainly excited by our current capabilities. It is our feeling that excellence in one aspect of a production supports and calls for excellence from the other areas. Technical theater certainly can uplift performance, and we encourage you to look at photos of our productions for an idea of the quality of work we create.

Acting: Acting, along with writing, lies at the heart of theatrical work. In the KUA acting training program, you will be taught how to authentically create a role from your observations of life and of yourself. You will not be given line readings to imitate, but will instead be given the responsibility to explore. There will be plenty of support, however, in the form of blocking, choreography, costuming, and technical acting training. Through encouragement and critique, you will learn to “reveal yourself” in order to share ideas and emotions with the world around you. We take it seriously.
KUA on tour:  One challenge that faces the school performer is the lack of time to grow in a role. Often, plays open and close in a weekend, and the opportunity to make choices and experiment is lost in the hubbub of the experience. We at KUA are also aware that exploring vibrant theater outside our walls provides creative fuel for all involved. For these reason and others, we have created a travel program to Great Britain, which has included nine day tours of "Jesus Christ Superstar", Cabaret, and, in 2012, "BatBoy". Beyond our own performances these tours include exploration of theater and dance in London's West End and elsewhere. In addition to giving us a seven show run, the tours create a joyous bonding experience for all involved, and is planned to continue every other year.

Writers in Residence: We understand that the creation of new plays, and the playwriting craft in general, are the lifeblood of the theater. As a result, we place significant emphasis on providing students with the opportunity to participate in new script development. Here, lines may change day to day, and the chance to see the whole product flex and grow, and to have dialogue with those involved, is incredibly valuable and exciting. Therefore, we host student writers, faculty authors, and professional playwrights producing new work on our stage.

Arts Events Calendar

List of 2 events.

  • KUAid

    Annual KUAid, featuring our jazz and rock ensembles. Show begins at 7:00 pm in the Campus Center.
    Campus Center
  • Fall Play

    What the Bellhop Saw, an uproarious farce written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Millmore. Directed by David Weidman, in Flickinger at 7:30 pm
    Flickinger Auditorium
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Kimball Union Academy  |  Meriden, New Hampshire 03770   p: 603-469-2000  |   f: 603-469-2040  |
Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA offers the best of the traditional New England Boarding School experience to a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. 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. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy