Our theatre program is an extension of our academic program. Each spring, our middle school Humanities classes take on the interdisciplinary study of one Shakespeare play – including A Comedy of Errors in 2016, Julius Caesar in 2017, The Tempest in 2018, Macbeth in 2019, and Henry IV, Part 1 in 2020 – and this unit culminates in a full-length production!
Each spring at PBA, our students walk the halls murmuring the lines they’re memorizing, rehashing funny moments from rehearsal, and trying on parts of their costumes. Their musical training allows them to master the rhythms of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter easily, and the younger boys watch in true awe as some of their older schoolmates memorize the hundreds of lines necessary to play a character like Mark Antony, Prospero, Macbeth, Prince Hal, or Falstaff. At the same time, our sixth graders study Elizabethan London and build models of the Globe Theatre, and students in all grades help to design and create the stage set and reflect on the experience of producing the play in their rehearsal journals.
PBA offers other opportunities for learning and growth on stage as well. Our elementary students perform a play each year, and in 2019, our Spanish and Humanities teachers collaborated on a bilingual retelling of Don Quixote! We embrace the theatre at PBA for many reasons: for its power to build students’ confidence, literacy, public speaking skills, and empathy; for its capacity to open doors into places, time periods, and cultures different from our own; and for the chance to build teamwork and problem-solving skills in an environment that’s high-energy and fun. PBA boys love to perform!