Lower School Theatre Arts introduces students to theatre. The program provides an opportunity to see the world, explore it, and express oneself in it. Students develop presence, power, energy, observation, imagination, collaborative skills, as well as emotional and artistic expression through the performing arts. They explore the disciplines of mime, masks, movement, acting, clowning, improvisation, directing, writing, and storytelling.
The students explore the questions:
  • What makes a story theatrical?
  • How is the written story translated into theatrical images?
  • What are the colors, sounds, music, and history of the story and times?
  • Who are the characters?
  • What do they want?
  • How do they get what they want?
  • What animals and elements describe the characters?
Basic acting techniques are emphasized which helps students connect feelings with words and lines. In this way they do more than just memorize words; they experience and identify feelings and behaviors.
Clowning — the acting side of clowning — is also an integral part of the program. Clowning helps students learn to be spontaneous, improvise, think on their feet, solve challenges in the moment, and to either "win magnificently" or "fail magnificently." It is all magnificent!
The purpose of theatre is to move and touch people, both audience and actor. Theater is an ensemble art form which requires collaboration, teamwork, creativity, spontaneity, planning, artistry, sequencing, spatial awareness, repetition, revision, passion and emotional expression: all skills that are required in life, regardless of whether one enters theatre as their life’s work or not.
All grades have public performing experiences based on either techniques and skills or full play productions created from a book, theme, or historical person.

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Department Specialist

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  • Photo of Nancy Gold

    Nancy Gold 

    Lower School Theater Specialist
    415.751.0187, ext. 336
    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - B.F.A.
    Ecole Jacques LeCoq Mime Movement Theatre - Masters Equivalency Degree
    Ctibor Turba International Clown-Theatre Congress
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.


An independent K–8 school for girls
7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: 415.751.0177 Fax: 415.666.0535
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