The theater program at KPS changed my life.

I never thought I had what it takes to be on a stage, to pour myself into a character, to be in the spotlight for more than a few minutes. But I discovered a passion in myself that I didn’t know existed. The experience I had in theater opened my eyes to the fulfillment and excitement that comes from live performance. I was challenged, I learned, I grew, I made amazing friends and I had fun doing it. -Asha Fradkin '14

KPS On Stage

For students, the value of creative expression through theater is undeniable — but the unique approach that distinguishes our program is our clear focus on finding and nurturing individual voice. Over the past 30 years, we've welcomed the development of countless new scripts, original performances, cabaret presentations and exceptional student initiatives.

Voices from the Theater Program

List of 9 items.

  • Acting Seminar

    From the Teacher: “It’s about the opportunity to find out who you are, as a storyteller, as a performer, as an individual. All students are welcome – there are no auditions for our acting classes – and the year provides each student performer with many opportunities to discover her strengths and embrace the challenge of exploring her capabilities.”
  • Backstage

    Backstage opportunities abound. Our program offers students the chance to explore stage design, scenic painting, carpentry, light design, and stage management.
    From Molly Gump ’16: “You get to see an entirely new side of performance. You have a whole new perspective on why things happen the way they do on stage and backstage. Being a stage manager gave me a lot of confidence in being a leader, and in balancing the needs of being a leader and being a friend.”
  • Independent Study

    From the Department Chair: “Our independent study program rewards those students who have shown a serious commitment to their theater work with the chance to pursue independently developed projects in playwriting, acting, directing and film production. Many of these independent study candidates have gone on to professional careers. Maria Dizzia ’93, is now part of the ensemble of Orange Is the New Black and a Tony nominee for her performance in In the Next Room. Alumnae Chisa Hutchinson ’98 (playwright; winner of the Helen Merrill and Paul Green awards) and Jeanmarie Williams ’85 (playwright, associate professor of theater at the University of North Carolina) have both returned to our campus for full productions of their plays.

    From Katie Moore-Gillon ’15: “This was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done at Kent Place. Learning to push past my temporary frustrations and writer’s block was hard – but when I really got going it all came together and everything clicked for me. One of the most important things I learned was that I could discover just as much about each of my original characters by performing them as by setting them down on a page.”

    From Denae Williams ‘14: “You pushed me to my limits during the rehearsal process, and while at first I resisted, in the end I'm glad you did. I'm glad you pushed me to be the greatest 17-year-old playwright I could be.”
  • Middle School Theater

    From our Students: “Being in Playmakers was a magical experience, and it really helped me break out of my shell. The whole cast has grown so close that we are really like a little family… Being a part of Playmakers helped me find my place in a new school. Drama families are truly the best kind of families!”
  • Performance Company

    From the Teacher: “Our unique Upper School Performance Company gives advanced students the opportunity to create, perform and tour their own original work, founded on themes as varied as the truths we often wish we could speak but never do, and impressions of women in light of race and gender discrimination.“

    From Molly Gump ’16: “It’s an incredible opportunity to perform in front of your peers and to put yourself into what you write. You get to see all sides of the story and you get to do it all – writing, performing, collaborating, staging. It’s cool because you feel really proud of what you do because you know you have a part in everything that goes into creating it.”

    From Bronwyn Olstein ’16: “It’s not a typical academic class because you learn in a different way and in a different environment. You get to use a creative side of yourself that you don’t always use in other classes. “
  • Primary School Theater

    From the Department Chair: “Our commitment to the original voice begins early at Kent Place, with storytelling projects in our primary theater classes, performances in Hauser Hall and, on the big stage, our fifth grade Shakespeare Project.”

    From the Teacher: “Yes, performing on a stage can be scary, but there’s great value in taking risks, and the results can often be increased confidence and a willingness to take on leadership roles. Moreover, theater cultivates curiosity, and forces us to become thinkers. I’ve seen it over and over. Theater in education makes for smarter, bolder and braver young people.”

    From our Students: “I’m always so happy when I walk through the door to theater class. I can really be myself there! It makes me feel like I am a part of something big. When I step on the stage, it’s like nothing else matters... I feel like a superstar!”
  • The Cabaret

    From Kendra Jain ’14: ”Directing a cabaret was one of the best experiences of my life. It was crazy-making, but it was eye-opening. As an actor, I was always in service to someone else's vision or aesthetic. As a director, I was finally able to say something of my own. And watching my actors sing their hearts out from the wings made my heart swell.”
  • The Musicals

    From Ashley Villarreal ’16: “The musicals at Kent Place – I had an amazing time and formed really strong friendships with people that you can’t really form in a classroom. Every time I did a musical I was inspired to continue my work in the performing arts.”
  • The Plays

    From the Department Chair: “Kent Place actors have participated in the world-premiere productions of Victoria Shudders, The Witchcraft at Salem Village, Bad Teacher, Down at the Bottom of a Deep, Dark Pit, Animal, Vanishing Marion and the musical Mother Jones. Four scripts developed for students – Coaster, How I Got That Part, What Andy Warhol Never Told Me and Maggie – are now published and produced both nationally and internationally. And more are on the way. Many of our student performers and directors have developed their own original performance projects, and some of these students have gone on to prestigious work in theater, film, television and theater education.”

    From our Students: “When I was a freshman, I was so nervous to get started, but the first cast I worked with could not have been more supportive – all of the upperclasswomen made us part of the group and included us in everything. All of the casts I’ve been a part of here have always been the nicest groups of people – no competition, no one-upping each other. It has always been about the support – everyone is excited to see everyone else succeed. “
We focus on performance and a commitment to the original voice.
Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.